ACA Anxiety: 3 Tips to Ease Employee Uncertainty

Posted by Marcy Klipfel on Feb 3, 2017 9:17:57 AM

shutterstock_165234017.jpgSince President Trump took office, there has been a lot of conversation about the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The president’s executive order on January 20, which directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services to lessen the law’s economic burden, sent the dialogue into overdrive.

While no concrete changes to the law have been implemented yet, one point has consistently come up in the discussion: many Americans are concerned about their ability to maintain coverage if the ACA is repealed without an immediate replacement.

Much of the conversation has focused on what would happen to the millions of people who have coverage through the ACA marketplace. However, the reality is that a repeal of the ACA would likely impact everyone’s health insurance, even the 150 million people who receive coverage through their employer.

As HR professionals, we are often the first people that employees turn to with questions about their benefits. Given the current state of affairs, those questions could now likely include concerns about the ACA. While the future of the law is unclear, here are three things you can do to ease employees’ anxieties:

Remind them nothing has changed yet

While change does seem to be on the horizon, there have been no permanent alterations to the law. For now, and for the foreseeable future, the current form of the ACA remains the law. Employees should focus on using and engaging with their benefits, and staying on top of what the law currently requires of them and their employer.

Help employees stay informed

While it’s hard not to follow the constant stream of politically focused headlines these days, it’s important to remember that not every employee will have an eye on ACA-related coverage. Help them stay current on pressing changes and updates related to the law by sharing relevant, credible news stories in a timely manner via email, or by posting them on your organization’s internal network. Summarize the key points and what it could mean for the healthcare landscape at large, not just for those with coverage through the ACA marketplace. This will help employees better understand how potential changes could directly impact them.

Keep your door open

Let employees know that you are available to answer questions and discuss any concerns they may have about the future of their benefits. Be clear that you may not have all the answers, but can provide them with resources to help them learn more and better understand the situation. A couple of excellent resources you can share include the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website, which provides an overview and status of the law, and the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation’s health reform page, which is regularly updated with content about the ACA.

Though the law has not changed yet, the growing uncertainty around the future of healthcare is no doubt, a challenge. By staying informed, communicative and transparent, you and your employees can more easily navigate the evolving landscape.

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