Healthcare is a hot topic in the United States right now. There are many debates about how it should be run and who should be responsible for what. However, one thing that is not up for debate is that healthcare is a massive part of the economy. It is estimated that healthcare spending makes up about 18% of the entire US economy.
This is a vast number, which means that any changes to the healthcare system will significantly impact businesses. This is especially true for small businesses, which often don’t have the same resources as larger businesses. If you are a small business owner, staying up-to-date on the latest healthcare developments and understanding how they might affect your business is essential.
1. The Affordable Care Act
The most significant recent development in healthcare is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was signed into law in 2010. The ACA is complex legislation that made several changes to the healthcare system.
One of the most important provisions of the ACA is the individual mandate, which requires most people to have health insurance or face a penalty. This has resulted in millions of Americans getting health insurance for the first time. Businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees must provide health insurance to their workers or face a penalty.
This has caused some businesses to reclassify their workers as part-time or to cut back on the number of employees they have. The ACA has also increased the number of people eligible for Medicaid, a government-run health insurance program for low-income Americans.
Medicaid covers various medical expenses and helps people pay for medical consultations, prescriptions, and hospital stays. But most importantly, it allows people to pay for preventive care.
2. Rising healthcare costs
Another big issue facing businesses is the rising cost of healthcare. Health insurance premiums have been increasing for years, which is expected to continue. This is a significant concern for businesses, as health insurance is one of their biggest expenses. Many companies have had tough choices in recent years to afford their health insurance premiums, such as cutting back on other expenses or raising prices.
Some businesses have been able to offset rising healthcare costs by switching to high-deductible health plans. These plans have lower monthly premiums but require the insured to pay a more significant portion of their medical bills out-of-pocket. This can be a tough decision for businesses, as it can strain their employees’ finances.
3. The rise of telemedicine
Telemedicine is the practice of providing medical care remotely, using technology such as video conferencing. It’s becoming increasingly popular, as it can save time and money for both patients and doctors. For example, a local dentist can use telemedicine to consult with a specialist in another city. This keeps the patient from having to travel and the dentist from having to take time off work.
Telemedicine can also be used for mental health counseling and physical therapy. It’s a convenient way for patients to get the care they need and is often covered by insurance. This is good news for businesses, as it means that their employees can get the care they need without taking time off work.
Several businesses are starting to offer telemedicine services to their employees. And as the technology becomes more sophisticated, telemedicine will likely become even more popular.
4. The opioid epidemic
Due to the opioid epidemic, which has been ravaging the US for the past few years, businesses are facing a new challenge: how to deal with employees who are struggling with addiction.
The opioid epidemic is a significant public health crisis, and it’s one that businesses are starting to pay more attention to. In 2017, the US Chamber of Commerce launched an initiative to help enterprises address the opioid epidemic. The chamber offers resources and advice for businesses on everything from drug testing to employee assistance programs.
The opioid epidemic has had many impacts on businesses. For example, employers are seeing an increase in the number of employees using drugs. This is leading to more workplace accidents and absenteeism. Additionally, businesses have to deal with the cost of employee health insurance claims related to addiction.
The healthcare system is having a significant impact on the way businesses operate. From the Affordable Care Act to the rise of telemedicine, companies must adapt to a rapidly changing landscape. And as the cost of healthcare continues to rise, businesses will need to find ways to control their expenses.
Despite the challenges, there are also opportunities for businesses to improve their bottom line by investing in health and wellness programs for their employees. And, as more companies start to offer telemedicine services, employees will have greater access to healthcare. So, while the healthcare system poses challenges for businesses, there are also potential solutions.