Our newest survey indicates that many part-time workers are confused about how the Affordable Care Act will affect them when it goes into affect in January, 2014. Our survey of 2,066 US adults, reveals that although the majority of workers (71%) have heard of the Act, many are confused about what the impact will be for them. And only 8% indicate their employer has communicated to them about the Act. As I've written about before, employers are generally paying a lot of attention to what they need to do to get ready. According to our survey, though, educating employees about how the Act is likely to affect them is not a focal area.

Organizations have a lot of work to do to get ready for complying with the Affordable Care Act in January 2014. Our survey found that 44 percent of part-time workers do not use an automated system to capture their time and 64 percent report their part-time employers don't use an automated scheduling solution. This means that a lot of folks are doing this work manually, and they'll have a hard time complying with the look- back and reporting requirements of the legislation. Perhaps more troubling, 36 percent of workers say that the hours they work are different from the hours they are scheduled to work, which could present a liability issue for employers.

According to Paul DeCamp, partner, Jackson Lewis LLP and former Administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, “There are a lot of interesting data points in this survey and many of them should be of interest to employers around the country. Overwhelmingly, part-time workers are confused about how the Affordable Care Act will impact them in virtually every way and only 8 percent have heard anything about it from their employers. Organizations need to start a dialogue with employees to begin to shed light on this important issue and empower them with information as it becomes available.”

Our board member, Dr. Tim Porter-O'Grady, is similarly concerned saying “As with other segments of the population surveyed, it appears as though part-time employees are also uncertain and confused by the elements and implications of The Affordable Care Act. Their uncertainty relates very much to lack of familiarity with the details of the Act as it applies to full and part-time employees as well as how the act changes the landscape of health service. However, I'm not certain that the survey verifies that employees are any more knowledgeable and clear about their current health insurance coverage. The survey indicates the need for policy leaders and employers to generate clear and accurate information regarding health insurance coverage and the impact of ACA on the lives of their employees.”

Survey Key Findings:

You can learn more about how workforce management technology can help with ACA compliance here. In the meantime, though, start thinking about employee communications as a critical element of your strategy.

This week I spoke with our board member, Dr. Tim Porter-O'Grady about the implications of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for healthcare providers and for employers.  If your organization employs more that 50 full time equivalent employees, you are no doubt already grappling with what you'll need to do to comply with the act.

Tim, who consults with healthcare providers around the country, has a deeply informed perspective on what the ACA will mean for workers and employers.  In our conversation, Tim reflects on the increasing responsibility that healthcare providers have to ensure their services are delivering the best possible outcomes for the money spent even as the pressure is applied to employers to ensure that employees can get the heath services they need at an affordable cost.

You can listen to a podcast of our conversation here: PPACA compliance podcast

In order to ensure compliance with the ACA and the drive toward evidence-based medical practice, both healthcare providers will be increasingly dependent on technology to track costs and predict outcomes.  Other resources that might be useful to you and your organization in understanding the ACA:

Navigating the Affordable Care Act: Avoiding Penalties  and Minimizing Costs - Kronos Webinar on March 6 at 11:00 am PT/2:00 pm ET

Mercer Report:  Health Care Reform After the Decision.  Mercer surveyed 1,215 US employers shortly after the Supreme Court decision last summer upholding the act.  This report provides a brief overview of the provisions of the act relating to employer responsibility for providing employees with affordable health insurance as well as those employers' assessments of the financial impact the Act will have on business.

As Ben Franklin famously noted, "An ounce of prevention is worth of pound of cure".  What's your organization doing to prepare for the ACA?  And what are you doing to help employees manage their own health?

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