CWS 3.0: March 21, 2012

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News: Who Will Pay Healthcare Reform Penalties for Contingents?

A contingent workforce professional urged staffing firms to be upfront with their clients about the cost of new penalties under healthcare reform during a panel discussion at the Staffing Industry Executive Forum held last week in Las Vegas.

“All you can do is really share what your costs are,” Melissa Ansell, senior contingent labor program coordinator, Bayer, told staffing industry executives at the forum.

Ansell, who was on a panel of staffing buyers, was responding to a question about how willing buyers would be to share the costs for penalties slated to go into effect in 2014. The healthcare reform penalties will impact large employers who don’t offer healthcare coverage to all their employees. It will also impact large employers who do offer healthcare insurance if that coverage is rated as unaffordable.

Pre-tax costs for healthcare reform penalties for staffing firms could be as high as $2.03 an hour, according to another presentation at the forum by George Reardon, special counsel with employment law firm Littler Mendelson. For background on healthcare reform, click here.

Presently, it appears a majority of staffing firms have not yet geared up for healthcare reform. According to a survey of 428 staffing firms by Staffing Industry Analysts, 77 percent indicated they had not thought about or addressed the problems, are waiting for regulations to be issued before making definite plans or are making no changes while expecting legislative appeals.

The question of who will pay healthcare reform penalties will become even more pressing as 2014 nears. The Supreme Court will weigh in on the law this year. However, some experts feel that while the court may throw out some portions of the healthcare reform law — such as the individual mandate — it is unlikely to do away with the entire law.

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