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Affordable Care Act creates uncertainty for Home Care Owners

By Stephen Tweed

One of the hottest topics of discussion as I travel around the country speaking and consulting this year is “How will the Affordable Care Act affect home care”?

The short answer;  “It’s not affordable.”

Our data show that most home care companies will fall into the large company category which means you will have to provide health insurance for your employees or pay a penalty to the government ( a tax according to the US Supreme Court).

Several weeks ago, I was speaking at the National Association for Home Care and Hospice Private Duty Leadership Conference.  During one of the evening round table discussions, the ACA and its affect on home care was the hot topic of discussion. 

What are other companies doing?

According to the 2013 Private Duty Benchmarking Study from Home Care Pulse,  most owners don’t know yet.  The study asked, “With the new Employer Mandate set to take effect in January 2014, what actions are you currently planning to be ready for?

Here’s what 617 survey respondents said:

1.  I have not decided yet – 52.6%
2.  Keep the majority of my employees to 30 hours or less per week – 19.9%
3.  Provide the required health insurance – 18.7%
4. Always operate less that 50 FTE employees – 17.4%
5. Pay the Penalty – 9.4%
6.  Other – 4.2%
7.  Drop my health insurance and pay the penalty – 1.9%

(For more information on what other home care owners are thinking or doing, order your copy of the benchmarking study. )

It’s pretty clear from the data that there is no one best answer, and many home care company owners are totally unprepared for the consequences of the ACA.  Perhaps a lot of people still think that this is a bad dream and when they wake up it will all go away.

Unfortunately,  I believe that when many home care owners wake up, it will be their worst nightmare, and many small companies will close as a result of this new law. 

What do you think?  What approach will you be taking?  Let us hear your comments. 

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