Marketers at some of the firms that belong to United Benefits Advisors (UBA) are hoping the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will make 2013 a good year for sales of dental insurance, life insurance and other nonmedical employee benefits.
Mary Drueke, a benefits specialist at a UBA member firm in Omaha, Neb., talks about the state of the nonmedical benefits market in a commentary that UBA has included along with a preview of results from a UBA employer survey.
Critics of PPACA argue that the law could increase the price of small group coverage and possibly decrease the supply.
PPACA opponents continue to fight implementation of the law. Some say they think federal regulators will postpone the start date of the SHOP exchange program.
But, if the law works as drafters expect, at least for the kinds of small employers that already try to provide some benefits, it could give those small employers more flexibility, Drueke said.
“In the past, employers have focused primarily on medical benefits because that is the largest expenditure,” Drueke said.
If the SHOP exchanges succeed at lowering small-group medical insurance costs, employers may be able to shift some of the energy they were devoting to medical insurance to add either traditional group benefits or voluntary benefits, Drueke said.
PPACA calls for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and state agencies to make Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchanges, or Web-based health insurance supermarkets, available to businesses with fewer than 50 employees in all 50 states and the District of Columbia by Oct. 1.