Group health plans that were in effect when the big reform law was signed on March 23, 2010, can earn “grandfather” status. Meaning: “They only have to comply with some of the expansive group market reforms—not all of them. And that’s important,” said Lisa Horn, manager of health care policy for the Society for Human Resource(SHRM), at last month’s SHRM annual conference in San Diego.
Employers will lose their grandfather status if they change insurance carriers or “substantially increase” out-of-pocket costs for employees. Three federal agencies released regulations last month that provide more details and the steps employers must take to preserve grandfather status.
However, not many grandfathered plans will exist by the end of 2013, predicted health policy expert Gary Kushner, CEO of Kushner and Co., at the SHRM conference.
“I don’t think the ultimate goal of any employer orshould be to maintain their grandfather plan status forever,” said Kushner. “Instead, I believe HR has an opportunity here to think strategically and plan for the future.”
Online resource: For links to a fact sheet on grandfathered health insurance plans and a side-by-side table showing which provisions of the law grandfathered plans are exempted from, see the Guidance section of our Health Reform Law portal at www.theHRSpecialist.com/healthlaw.