Health insurance is a hot button issue in the nation right now, as small-to-large businesses try to determine the scope of the changes to health care policies under the Affordable Health Care Act. The ACA is the most sweeping health care legislation to come out of the White House in ages. The ACA has made headlines for a significant period of time now, and it’s just getting started. Staffing and recruiting professionals understand that the changes to how health insurance coverage works, and how employers are now required to provide coverage to those employees that fit certain criteria, will now impact hiring decision making. Companies are now asking, “is it more affordable to hire one full-time, salaried worker who is required to have health insurance, or, is it more affordable to hire two contract workers who don’t work enough hours to qualify for health insurance?”
Changes are coming to health care coverage
As the federal government tries to fix the kinks in the deployment of the ACA this fall and winter, staffing companies are simultaneously trying to prepare for the potential repercussions of the ACA. This means hiring professionals who are well versed in benefits deployment and have strong backgrounds in health care. Professionals in the staffing industry, like John Vanderkin, President of Employers Overload, an innovative workforce staffing company, warns business owners that recruiting firms cannot act as a scapegoat for companies trying to avoid paying for health care coverage to workers.
“The staffing industry should not become an avenue for companies to try and avoid the ACA requirements, but the ACA creates some opportunities for the staffing industry if companies adopt the use of certain staffing industry services. Used properly, the staffing industry can help a company minimize some of the impacts of ACA,” said Vanderkin. “Utilizing temporary employees for short- term business growth or projects can alleviate the tracking and notification requirements that a company needs to follow for ACA. Using temp-to-hire services to fill permanent positions can help to reduce turnover and avoid more costly ACA administration tasks until the company is sure that a candidate will really be a good fit for the organization.”
He went on to say that “the ACA has also created numerous challenges for the staffing industry. The increased costs associated with longer term temporary project placements, administration and tracking of the ACA requirements as well as educating the staff and candidates of the staffing company are just a few of these challenges. As staffing organizations recognize the increased costs of administrating and paying for the ACA, they will need to determine how to pass those costs along to their clients in a fair and reasonable fashion.”
How companies can work with staffing partners to adapt to the ACA
Businesses attempting to adapt to meet the new standards outlined by the ACA may find working with staffing and recruiting firms as partners in the endeavor to untangle the web of health care legislation may be the right way to go. Staffing professionals are finding that streamlined technology solutions are able to increase workplace efficiency, like staffing and recruiting software. As a result, all that is needed for added benefits to the deployment of the ACA is a team of people who are dedicated to learning everything there is to know about the ACA.
“We have done a tremendous amount of work to prepare for this change. We have spent a great deal of time educating key members of our staff, we continue to meet with customers and businesses within our service areas to educate them about the ACA and its effect on staffing, we are working closely with our software vendor, Bond International, to enhance our applicant tracking system so we can meet the requirements of ACA and we are continually working to answer questions by our candidates and employees on how the ACA will affect and support them,” said Vanderkin. “Keeping abreast of the changing ACA regulations is an important task of a staffing vendor and we provide this service and support to our customers to ensure that they have the latest information to base their hiring decisions upon.”
Changes to the ACA in the last quarter
Unlike what the previous paperwork stated, if a business or individual wants health insurance coverage to begin on Jan. 1, 2014, they now have until Dec. 23, 2013 to purchase a plan – this is eight days later than the initial enrollment deadline. However, according to the Detroit Free Press, this deadline is hardly a fast and hard line as well. The news source reported that the deadline for purchasing a plan is March 31, 2014.
This is good news for those people who have a current, steady health insurance coverage plan. However, those individuals who have gone without insurance could be required to sign up for at least a one year policy immediately. The ACA reforms also states that those individuals who are currently signed up for a group health plan are not required to find an alternative health insurance coverage option. The previous plans that people were signed up for will continue to work as they did before the implementation of the ACA.
Issues the ACA has created will pop up in the careers of experienced staffing and recruiting professionals. What’s important is the ability of a quality recruiter to take the new knowledge, chew it over and be able to understand how the changes to the legislation will impact the hiring process and whether a client is required by law to offer health insurance to a potential employee. These details are best left in a secure location, where data is protected, yet accessible. Staffing software and recruiting software provides this exact blend of features, which is why it is an invaluable tool for a firm.
Learn more about managing the ACA as a staffing agency from Bond’s ACA whitepaper.