Five Years Later: Employers Can Still Take More Advantage of the Affordable Care Act

Derek Newell, CEO

Five years ago this month, the President signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law – and despite the ongoing debate about the law’s impact on employers – the fact remains that American enterprises are still spending too much on healthcare and getting too little in return. While many employers continue to see their rates spiral out of control, the forward-thinking ones are taking advantage of provisions under the law that make it easier to support cost-saving disease management, digital benefit services, and incentive programs, and are saving money along the way.

Roughly half of Americans receive health insurance coverage through an employer-sponsored policy. This was true five years ago, and it is still true today. At the same time, employer health care costs continue to far outpace wages and inflation. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that average annual employer-sponsored insurance premiums for families reached almost $17,000 in 2014, an increase of nearly 70 percent over the past decade.

The ACA’s most well known reforms did not directly address the rising cost of employer-sponsored health insurance. But businesses were not entirely left out to dry either; the law created a powerful new tool to help enterprises finally begin to control their health care spending, and some have taken advantage of it. Employers can now offer incentives for their employees to make changes to their lives that decrease the chance of them needing expensive care.

What does this mean? For one employee, it might mean using telemedicine or a 24-hour medical hotline. For another, it might be accessing a weight-loss coach or refilling prescriptions online rather than visiting a pharmacy. There are now a host of digital health programs, apps, and devices spanning the full spectrum of health services, and the ACA makes it easier to take advantage of them.

However, the opportunity has created an unexpected twist. Benefit managers have gone from having very few tools to improve employee health to having too many. Now there are a new set of challenges: finding the right options for each company, getting employees to use them, and making sure that the company is getting a good return on its investment.

That’s where Jiff comes in. Jiff is on a mission to help companies lower healthcare costs and cultivate happier, healthier employees. Our enterprise benefit platform integrates all the vendors employers already have in one place, and lets them choose from over 50 pre-integrated services. By delivering personalized incentives, real-time data analytics, and a beautifully designed experience, Jiff targets individual employee cost drivers and increases utilization of those services proven to save employers money.

Five years later, the debate over the ACA is still going strong, and in all likelihood, it will continue for some time. But enterprises cannot afford to wait for Washington to address their health care costs. Thanks to the incentives in the ACA and the power of Jiff’s platform, employers can take action today to bring health spending under control.