On Wednesday afternoon Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence (IEE) sponsor Cowden Associates, Inc. welcomed IEE members, sponsors and staff to their downtown offices for a Lunch & Learn program. Lesa Votovich, Director of Health and Benefits for Cowden presented on health care reform and public vs. private exchanges. Here are a few of the highlights:
- Public exchanges were created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Public exchanges can be established by the states, the federal government, or a combination of both and are essentially marketplaces where employees and/or retirees can purchase health insurance and evaluate vendors, plan options, and cost. Plans are available to individuals and their families as well as small employer groups with less than 50 employees. Public exchanges are individually underwritten and are not employer sponsored.
- Private exchanges (like public ones) are on-line marketplaces that employers can utilize to provide coverage to their employees. Coverage can range from healthcare to life, disability and/or voluntary benefits. Private exchanges are operated by private-sector companies or nonprofit organizations and are not subject to the ACA standards.
- When thinking about eliminating employer group health plans for your employees, it is crucial to consider your entire employee compensation package. Also, how will this move be perceived by current employees and will it affect your employee retention and attraction? What are your competitors doing?
If you have had any experience dealing with public and/or private exchanges, or have been thinking about eliminating employer sponsored health plans from your company please share your thoughts below.