Health Care Reform Update

By Kathleen Pohlid Founder & Managing Member, Pohlid, PLLC | October 07, 2012

On June 28, the Supreme Court settled the debate looming over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, upholding the individual mandate scheduled to go into effect in 2014. Since enacted on March 23, 2010, the Act continues to phase-in significant reforms many of which impose requirements affecting employers. Although legislative attempts and political discussions continue to swirl for repeal of the Act, the time-line for full implementation of the Act continues. Businesses, including those in the hospitality industry, should be in compliance with those provisions that have gone into effect and ready for those remaining to be phased-in.

The Affordable Care Act has initiated comprehensive reforms of private and public health coverage, with many of those reforms directly affecting employers. The Act phases-in its reforms, several of which have already gone into effect. Employers in the hotel industry should be aware of those provisions and the obligations and decisions they may pose for their business. Below is a synopsis of several provisions that have already gone into effect, and those which will be implemented in the future.

Currently In Effect

a. Health Coverage for Adult Children Until Age 26. Insurers that offer dependent coverage are required to extend the availability of coverage to children of the insured until the child reaches the age of 26. This provision applies even if the child is married. However, adult children who are eligible to enroll in an employer-sponsored health plan (other than their parentís) are not covered under this provision until 2014.

b. Prohibition of exclusions for children with pre-existing conditions. Children under the age of 19 cannot be denied health coverage for pre-existing conditions.

c. Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans (PCIP). States have the option of running a PCIP to provide new coverage options to individuals who have been uninsured for at least six months due to a pre-existing condition. For states that opt not to run a PCIP, the Secretary will establish a plan in that state. PCIPs will continue until 2014, when discrimination against pre-existing conditions will be prohibited for all individuals.

Coming up in March 2018...

Human Resources: Value Creation

Businesses must evolve to stay competitive and this is also true of employment positions within those organizations. In the hotel industry, for example, the role that HR professionals perform continues to broaden and expand. Today, they are generally responsible for five key areas - government compliance; payroll and benefits; employee acquisition and retention; training and development; and organizational structure and culture. In this enlarged capacity, HR professionals are no longer seen as part of an administrative cost center, but rather as a member of the leadership team that creates strategic value within their organization. HR professionals help to define company policies and plans; enact and enforce systems of accountability; and utilize definable metrics to measure and justify outcomes. Of course, there are always new issues for HR professionals to address. Though seemingly safe for the moment, will the Affordable Care Act ultimately be repealed and replaced and, if so, what will the ramifications be? There are issues pertaining to Millennials in the workforce and women in leadership roles, as well as determining the appropriate use of social media within the organization. There are new onboarding processes and e-learning training platforms to evaluate, in addition to keeping abreast of political issues like the minimum wage hike movement, or the re-evaluation of overtime rules. Finally, there are genuine immigration and deportation issues that affect HR professionals, especially if they are located in Dreamer Cities, or employ a workforce that could be adversely impacted by federal government policies. The March Hotel Business Review will take a look at some of the issues, strategies and techniques that HR professionals are employing to create and sustain value in their organization.