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Employers prep for Obamacare

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focus-rop-iu-health05-15col.jpg Hospital systems including IU Health laid off hundreds of employees as they braced for implementation of the Affordable Care Act. (IBJ file photo)

The pace of rule-making and decision-making was feverish in the year leading up to the Jan. 1, 2014, implementation of Obamacare.

Employers raced to make sure they were compliant with Obamacare’s new rules that defined full-time workers as those working an average of 30 hours per week. Many restaurants, retailers, public schools and universities tamped down their part-time workers’ hours to 28 per week so they would not qualify for health insurance.

In addition, thousands of employers decided to dodge the new rules by renewing their existing health insurance plans early, giving them until late 2014 to comply with Obamacare.

Obamacare’s lack of impact on employers this year was made up for by a tremendous impact on individuals. An estimated 108,000 of the 178,000 Hoosiers who had purchased health insurance on their own had their policies canceled by insurers because those policies did not comply with Obamacare’s revamping of the individual market.

Healthcare.gov, the website for signing up for Obamacare’s exchanges, was nearly impenetrable during its first two months of operation, limiting enrollment in Indiana to just 3,500, and causing some to worry that only the sickest patients will participate, possibly spiking rates for 2015.

Indiana is not participating in Obamacare’s other method of expanding health insurance: Gov. Mike Pence declined to expand eligibility for the Medicaid program. He instead negotiated a one-year extension of the Healthy Indiana Plan, and is asking the Obama administration to let him use that health savings account-based program to expand Medicaid.

The slower expansion of coverage means that hospitals will reap less financial benefit from Obamacare than originally thought. That reality, combined with patient volumes and reimbursement rates growing slower than expected, forced Indianapolis’ four major hospital systems to lay off employees—about 900 positions each at Franciscan Alliance, Indiana University Health and St. Vincent Health.

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  1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...

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