The Overlooked Obamacare Provision Changing Everything About Healthcare

In the six years since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, the healthcare landscape has shifted. But one thing hasn’t changed. Employers still find themselves at the center of the healthcare industry – as half of all Americans get their health insurance through an employer. While much of the attention on the ACA in the last six years has focused on the employer mandate and the so-called Cadillac Tax, it’s actually a less well-known provision of the ACA that could have the most dramatic effect on how employees get healthcare.

It’s actually a less well-known provision of the ACA that could have the most dramatic effect on how employees get healthcare.

Among the complex set of new provisions employers face is one that creates a valuable tool to control healthcare costs. The ACA expanded employers’ ability to offer incentives and rewards for employees engaging in healthy behaviors and health and wellbeing programs. Employers are permitted under the law to discount up to 30 percent of an employee’s (and their spouse’s) premium as an incentive or reward. This enables employers to offer benefits that cultivate a healthier workforce, ultimately reducing overall healthcare costs.

In contrast to High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs), capping or eliminating employer-matched health accounts, or narrowing health plans and cutting benefits, the 30 percent provision gives employers a way to control costs that is employee-friendly. It enables them to add benefits, rather than take them away. It aligns employers and employee goals by creating a market for healthy behaviors where employees are rewarded for things that will improve their health and wellbeing.

And, combined with the explosion of digital health apps, tools, and services that has occurred in the last six years, employers have no shortage of new benefits to offer employees. These go well beyond the fitness trackers and wearables. For example, telemedicine services like Doctor On Demand or Teladoc can help reduce visits to expensive doctors offices and emergency rooms by giving employees access to a physician right through their phone or laptop. Grand Rounds can help ensure employees seeking complex care care get second opinions and find the highest quality provider. And new tools like Glooko can help manage chronic diseases.

Employers recognize the value of this ACA provision. Companies are spending on average almost $700 per employee per year on incentives for these types of benefits. However, in order to make the most of this investment, employees need to use the health benefits available to them.

Companies are spending on average almost $700 per employee per year on incentives.

For HR managers, all of these benefits can be incredibly difficult – if not impossible – to manage and understand which are working. And, for employees, the jumble of health benefits programs and incentives means it can be difficult for them to separate the signal from the noise. The result, too often, is that health benefits and wellbeing programs go unused – a waste of money and opportunity.

To take full advantage of the ACA’s incentives rule, employers need a way to manage all of their health benefits, to offer health benefits that fit their employees’ needs, and to use incentives that will encourage employee engagement. Jiff’s enterprise health benefits platform is a solution for this.

The result, too often, is that health benefits and wellbeing programs go unused – a waste of money and opportunity.

Jiff’s enterprise health benefits platform brings together all of an employer’s benefits solutions and digital health services in a data-driven platform that allows HR leaders to manage all of them, to see what works and delivers value, and to get employees to engage.

With Jiff, employers can implement a benefits and incentives program customized for their benefits design, employee population, and company culture. Jiff’s easy-to-use platform gives HR managers real-time data and actionable insights into their benefits, allowing them to see what works and make adjustments at the click of a button. And, Jiff can improve the value of health benefits for employees by allowing employers to offer personalized incentives and timely recommendations for benefits that address an employee’s unique health needs.

Six years after the ACA, the healthcare industry is still adjusting to changes. But, employers face the same rising healthcare costs as before. By taking advantage of the ACA’s benefits incentives rule, employers can control healthcare costs while also improving benefits value for their employees. Jiff’s enterprise health benefits platform helps employers make the most of the ACA and control healthcare costs by delivering the right benefits at the right time to the right employees.