Nitin Chhoda discusses how clinicians can handle the insurance benefits of their employees without jeopardizing the business revenue and have a win-win situation for both staff and private practice business.

insurance benefits and policyAs a clinic owner and employer, medical practitioners including that of physical therapy management offices, are subject to the same tenants of the Affordable Health Care Act as the owner of a production plant when it comes to offering their staff insurance benefits options.

Businesses that don’t offer healthcare insurance benefits face stiff fines, but an increasing number of employers in all industries are choosing to pay the penalty as an easy means of managing costs.

The downside to that method is that clinics run the risk of losing the best and brightest staff to practices that offer insurance benefits, no matter how meager.

In an effort to retain staff and comply with the law, many employers are experimenting with a variety of options, from changes in coverage to quirky new insurance benefits plans.

Abbreviated Policies Don’t Make the Grade

These no-frill plans offer very limited benefits and provide reduced rates on the most basic of medical services. With the increasing costs of premiums, deductibles and co-pays, many employees will deem the cost and coverage acceptable, when compared to no coverage at all. Clinicians should be aware that these aren’t considered full insurance benefits plans and don’t meet the government mandated criteria.

Benefits for Employees Doesn’t Have To Include Spouses

While employers are required to provide insurance benefits for full-time employees and dependent children under the age of 26, nothing in the Act ensures coverage for spouses. Clinicians who have traditionally offered healthcare policies that include the employee’s family members are opting to eliminate coverage for spouses.

The assumption is that the spouse is working and will obtain their own insurance benefits and health coverage through their employer.

It’s a solution that allows clinic owners to provide required coverage and save money.

What Does “Affordable” Really Mean?

One of the primary tenants of the Affordable Health Care Act that’s causing confusion for all is the term “affordable”. The Internal Revenue Service proposed rules to take effect in 2014 that indicate an employer-sponsored plan is affordable if it doesn’t exceed 9.5 percent of the individual’s household income.

That definition offers employers some parameters with which to work when configuring insurance benefits packages. It also opens the door for a variety of staff retention problems as talented professionals seek positions that specifically combine higher wages with better benefits.

The word affordable is misleading. The Act mandates coverage, but doesn’t say employers must make it benefits

Affordable healthcare coverage should be within the grasp of everyone, but providing those insurance benefits can represent a hardship to smaller practices.

Practitioners are forced to run a gauntlet of penalties, less profitability and loss of experienced staff for lack of insurance benefits.

They’re all factors that each medical professional will have to weigh carefully as they will impact clinics and quality of care for years to come. ll have to weigh carefully as they will impact clinics and quality of care for years to come.