The Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) is using its annual conference in Atlanta to remind the benefits world that the United States is implementing two major health reform programs.
One is the widely covered Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and the others is the much less publicized Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA).
DMEC, a nonprofit group with about 4,500 disability and absence management community members, worked with Pacific Resources Benefits Advisors L.L.C. to put out a white paper this week on the effects of PPACA on employers’ absence and disability programs.
When analysts surveyed 287 benefits professionals through in June and July, they found that 73 percent expect PPACA to increase employers’ health benefits costs, and 42 percent expect PPACA to decrease workers’ ability to see doctors for routine care in a timely manner.
A smaller but substantial percentage — 33 percent — expect PPACA to lead to an increase in the number of short-term disability (STD) claims, and 23 percent fear it could increase the number of long-term disability (LTD) claims.
At the conference, DMEC held general sessions on the PPACA survey results, on general PPACA compliance issues, and on the possible interaction of the new private health insurance exchange programs with absence management and disability programs.