Even though the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not directly affect workers’ compensation, several elements of these reforms may have a significant impact on workers’ compensation costs and practices.
Let’s take a closer look at the potential positive and negative effects of the ACA for workers’ compensation insurance.
ACA reforms were put into motion in order to provide Americans with greater access to healthcare. This increased access offers two major benefits for workers’ compensation:
- The biggest benefit ACA offers is that increased access to health care will create healthier employees, overall. Healthier employees will likely lead to reductions in workers’ compensation claims because they’ll be less likely to remain dependent on workers’ compensation through a combination of their work injury and other pre-existing conditions.
For instance, if an employee sustains a work-related injury but already has comprehensive health care, a condition like high blood pressure will already be diagnosed and treated, rather than being discovered in an emergency room after the accident. This means that the physician can treat the new injury more thoroughly.
- The other benefit of ACA reforms is that injured employees will likely recover quicker because they’re healthier from the start. Employees with access to health care will be more likely to have a better understanding of their own health which can lead to shorter workers’ compensation claims. Shorter claims mean reduced costs!
One potential detractor of increased health care access is that increased demands may mean strain the system.
When more individuals have health insurance, more people go to the doctor, which places a significant strain on the supply of physicians available. This type of saturation may lead to delays in treatment for injured employees after a work-place accident, which increases the length of time that the employee is away from work, which can lead to more lost wages needing to be paid to the employee.
But there are some ways to avoid this scenario. If your company enrolls in a high-quality healthcare provider network and maintains strong relationships, it can increase your employees’ ability to be seen in a timely manner and receive the best care. Looking out for your employees’ health is the best way to lower your costs in the long run.
Other Things to Consider
One of the biggest features of the ACA is a push for electronic health records (EHRs). There are positives and negatives that come with this shift. On the positive side, less paperwork may mean less errors and easier access to patient information. On the negative side, data may be breached, tampered with, or lost entirely. It is expected, however, that EHRs will have a largely positive impact.
The ACA is also incentivizing employers by reducing health insurance rates for those that implement wellness programs for their employees. A workplace that encourages healthier lifestyles can lead to better overall wellness and a decrease in workplace injuries and illnesses.
With all these new ACA reforms, it can be hard to understand how your business will be affected. The team at ERM Insurance Brokers have committed themselves to helping their clients navigate this new territory, protecting both your employees and your bottom line.
Call ERM today to speak to a friendly expert! (949) 222-0444.