August 2012  |  Volume 3, Number 8

Health Care Reform Update


Studying the Studies: Effect of the PPACA on Employer-Sponsored Insurance

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed recent studies on the likely effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and found that the results varied widely depending on the assumptions and methodology used. These studies using publicly available data and statistical modeling predicted small effects on coverage ranging from a 2.5 percent decrease to a 2.7 percent increase. When surveys or other analytical methods were used, the results were highly variable. Likely explanations of the differences include the wording of the questions, the answers that respondents could choose, the nature and size of the sample or data, and the assumptions used.



GAO reviewed studies published between 2009 and March 2012 that examined the rates of employer-sponsored health insurance coverage nationwide and examined the possible effects of PPACA. Five studies were based exclusively on the statistical modeling; often, they used similar data or techniques. Nineteen were reports of employers' surveys, and three used other methods. GAO considered the assumptions used, sample size, source data, and the variances in the questions each study examined. Each study examined at least one of the key provisions of PPACA, i.e., the individual mandate, the establishment of the health insurance exchanges, market reforms, and the Medicaid expansion.


Results of survey

GAO found much more variation in the results among the surveys than the statistical modeling. Sixteen of the 19 surveys estimated the likelihood that employers would drop coverage for all employees. Of these, 11 found that less than 10 percent of the respondents were likely to drop coverage, and the other five predicted between 11 percent and 20 percent were likely to do so. "Likely," for these purposes, meant anything from "seriously considering" to "very likely." All but three of the surveys included only employers that currently offered insurance, so there was no measurement of the employers who might begin or resume offering coverage. However, among the three that asked about the likelihood of employers adding a health insurance benefit, estimates ranged from 1 percent to 28 percent. When respondents were asked whether their decisions would be affected by the decisions of others, such as competitors, 78 percent said they would. In another survey, 25 percent would be influenced by a major "bellwether" employer's elimination of health insurance coverage.


For more information, click here


Source: CCH® NetNews Health Care Reform Update



Understanding Possible Health Care Reform Outcomes

Health Reform Bracketology is a fun and instructive exercise that illustrates potential future scenarios in American health care. Based on a series of assumptions, each scenario paints a picture of what the future could be and then presents the implications in simple and easy-to-understand terms. The scenarios are developed by professional staff at Leavitt Partners, in consultation with the Leavitt Partners' FuturePanel, a diverse, 14-member group of health care thought leaders. In addition, surveys are circulated among health-industry thought leaders to gauge their perspective on potential outcomes through LP Health Watch. These groups are not unanimous in their opinion, demonstrating the diversity of thought surrounding the future of health reform. Scenarios depict alternative futures ---- not necessarily desired futures ---- and help senior executives navigate the significant uncertainty that currently exists in American health care.


Click here for more information.

Using Outcomes-Based Incentives for an Employer Sponsored Wellness Program

The Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), American Cancer Society, American Cancer Network, American Diabetes Association and American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine have collaborated to produce the first joint consensus document designed to provide guidance on the use of outcomes-based incentives in employer-sponsored wellness programs.


This publication incorporates research, practical application, policy perspectives and a set of basic considerations to help organizations that are considering or implementing this approach in their program development and planning. "Guidance for a Reasonably Designed, Employer-Sponsored Wellness Program Using Outcomes-Based Incentives" has been published by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.




2011 State Obesity Map Now Available

What: 2011 CDC map detailing adult obesity prevalence for all U.S. states based on Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data


Where: Click here for the CDC overweight and obesity adult obesity facts.


Background: In 2011, rates of adult obesity remained high, with state estimates ranging from 20.7 percent in Colorado to 34.9 percent in Mississippi. No state had a prevalence of adult obesity less than 20 percent, and 12 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia) had a prevalence of 30 percent or more. The South had the highest prevalence of adult obesity (29.5 percent), followed by the Midwest (29 percent), the Northeast (25.3 percent), and the West (24.3 percent).


In 2011, several updates occurred with BRFSS that impacted estimates of state-level adult obesity prevalence. First, there was an overall change in the BRFSS methodology, including the incorporation of cell-phone only households, and a new weighting process. These changes in methodology were made to ensure that the sample better represents the population in each state. Second, to generate more accurate estimates of obesity prevalence, small changes were made to the criteria used to determine which respondents are included in the data analysis.


Because of these changes in methodology, estimates of obesity prevalence from 2011 forward cannot be compared to estimates from previous years. Data collected in 2011 will provide a new baseline for obesity prevalence data collected in subsequent years.


BRFSS is only one of several data sets that monitor rates of obesity in the United States. When considering these other data sets, including the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the obesity epidemic is still a major public health problem.


Upcoming BSG Events  


Affordable Care Act Seminar: What You Need to Know to Be Compliant

Thursday, September 6, 2012 ---- Hilton Milwaukee City Center

BSG is a sponsor and presenter at the Wisconsin Manufacturers Association (WMC) Symposium. During this seminar U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance Ted Nickel, and legal experts will address health care reform and dive into the compliance issues employers face in 2012 and beyond. Gerald W. Frye of the Benefit Services Group, Inc. will present with Charlie Stevens of Michael Best & Friedrich under the title:


What to Begin Preparing for: 2013 and Beyond (1:30 - 3:00 p.m. CDT)


Visit the WMC website for more information. 



2012 Las Vegas Mid-Sized Retirement Healthcare Plan Management Conference

September 9-12, 2012 ---- The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

BSG is a proud sponsor of the University Conference Services (UCS), LLC Mid-Sized Retirement & Healthcare Plan Management Conference series. The Las Vegas event showcases industry experts' thoughts on the PPACA Supreme Court ruling, high health care costs, retirement plan fees, the "tax expense" issue, and much more. BSG representatives will speak about the following:


Anticipate, Understand and Leverage the Quickly Emerging Health Care Market (Monday, September 10, 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.) presented by Peter Garner


Keynote Address: How Employers Can Deal with Transformation in the Health Care Delivery System  (Tuesday, September 11, 8:30 - 9:30 a.m.) presented by Gerald ("Jerry") W. Frye


Beyond Health Fairs: Developing Wellness Plans that Improve Employee Health and Change Culture* (Tuesday, September 11, 2:15 - 3:15 p.m.) presented by Michelle Spehr

*Title update since brochure printed.


For more information, view the conference brochure or visit the UCS website.



MRA 2012 Trends Conference

September 18, 2012 ---- Country Springs Hotel & Conference Center

Discover emerging trends in benefits, compensation, process improvement, and safety. Gerald W. Frye of BSG will present:


How Employers Can Deal With Transformation in the Health Care Delivery System* (1:30 - 2:45 p.m.)

*Title updated from website listing


For more information on the event, click here, or to register, click here.

In This Issue
Health Care Reform Update
BSG Events


More information regarding Health Care Reform and other benefit resources is available on the HR360 website, available to BSG clients under the "Resources" menu of their HR Express website. HR360 includes new features such as step-by-step interactive guides which make the processes of hiring, termination, COBRA and FMLA so much easier. In addition, there are new online tools such as a job description builder and salary benchmarking tool.

BSG subscribes to this service for your benefit. If you would like more information regarding this resource please contact your account management team at BSG.
Enlighten is published by The Benefit Services Group, Inc., (BSG®) and is provided free of charge to select BSG client representatives and associates.

By providing links to other sites, BSG does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to BSG.

The preceding is not intended to be and is not offered as legal advice. We are prohibited from the practice of law. Compliance is the responsibility of the employer or Plan sponsor and affected employees who should seek their own legal counsel regarding questions about information presented in this newsletter.

Copyright© 2012 The Benefit Services Group, Inc. BSG® is a registered trademark of The Benefit Services Group, Inc.