Eide Bailly Offers Health Reform Analytics Service

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Accounting firm Eide Bailly has introduced a new Employer Health Reform Analytics service to help business owners respond to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which the Supreme Court upheld last month.

The Republican-controlled House voted to repeal the 2010 law this week in response to the Supreme Court decision, but the Democratic-controlled Senate is not expected to allow the repeal bill to come up for a vote. In the meantime, many businesses are wondering how to comply with the law, assuming it survives next year after the elections.

Eide Bailly’s Employer Health Reform Analytics service aims to help business owners make an informed decision on whether to provide insurance to their employees, to pay the penalties and send their employees to local, regional or federal health insurance exchanges, or to develop a new hybrid health insurance plan.

Employer Health Reform Analytics uses an online calculator that shows whether a business’s costs for health insurance will increase or decrease, depending on the number of employees they have, their wages and the future cost of coverage.

The firm recently did some preliminary calculations and found that several types of businesses will see the greatest financial difference between the options, which could have a substantial impact on their business. They include small businesses that currently don’t offer insurance, businesses with large numbers of part-time or seasonal workers, and businesses with employees who receive, on average, lower wages.

In one case, for a nonprofit, the numbers indicated a potential 40 percent savings for the organization by sending employees to a health insurance exchange, while increasing salaries to cover employees’ costs for those who are not subsidy-eligible.

The Affordable Care Act affects all businesses, the firm noted, giving owners a chance to redefine their health insurance plans. In fact, businesses now have more choices than ever. The firm’s Employer Health Reform Analytics service tries to helps business owners understand the law and evaluate their situation through accurate analytics.

“Because of the perceived cost-savings of not providing coverage, it can be tempting for organizations to simply opt for the penalty without taking the time to determine if, indeed, it is the best business move,” said Eide Bailly principal Ross Manson, who co-developed the tool. “It is critical to consider all aspects of the situation in order to make an informed decision that is in the best interest of each company.”

Manson noted that the calculations consider increasing salaries, so employees have the money to purchase their insurance through a health insurance exchange. It also considers whether or not the employees will qualify for an exchange subsidy – two important considerations during the process. “It is also important to consider other key factors,” said Manson, “including the cost of future health care coverage, the impact on recruiting and the ‘unknowns.’”

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