KANSAS CITY, Mo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- As we enter year two of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law, there have been many significant changes – with even more to come. Although it is a divisive issue in our country for many, it remains the law of the land. The staggered implementation and extensive timeline mean many of the most critical components of the law have yet to be realized. However, there have been changes and relevant observations that are worth discussing.
“Now that we have reached the one year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and enter year two, it is likely that one’s view of health care reform remains highly situational. Senior citizens on Medicare may approve of the changes because they can see the ‘doughnut hole’ closing. Parents appreciate the coverage available to young adult dependents up to the age of 26. For employers, it is now abundantly clear that providing health care is no longer an optional benefit, but a legal requirement. Employers can now either pay for health care directly or face a fine – indirectly paying for health care.
“Employers that had been ‘on the fence’ waiting for clarity in the legislation were finally moved to make benefit plan design changes following the passing of the ACA. While additional clarity is still needed, the law being enacted was enough of a motivator for some employers to address benefit plan designs and better manage rising costs.
“As we entered 2011, the over-the-counter drug restrictions went into place. Individuals could no longer use flexible spending accounts, as well as other spending accounts, to cover the costs for these medications. Many have argued that it is counterintuitive to ‘punish’ someone who is using less expensive formularies and instead force them to a doctor for a prescription for an over-the-counter drug or medicine. This particular change has been troublesome and is creating a burden for those who were acting responsibly and saving to better manage their costs for chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma. Congress is proposing the ‘Patient’s Freedom to Choose Act’ (H.R. 605 and S. 312) to resolve this dilemma.
“Finally, as a provider of consumer-directed health spending accounts, we continue to see a growing interest in health savings accounts (HSAs). High-deductible health plans partnered with HSAs are a logical step for employers that want to control rising costs and promote employee engagement in their own health. These plans give employees some ‘skin in the game’ and an incentive to not only better manage their health, but also to be a more educated consumer. Employees benefit from lower premiums and an incentive to better manage their health.
“While the merits of the Affordable Care Act continue to be widely debated, one benefit of reform has been the increased national discussion on health care. The awareness created prompts both employers and employees to be more sensitive to better managing their health care.”
Since the inception of Medical Savings Accounts in the late 1990’s, UMB Healthcare Services has been a financial services leader in the health care marketplace. Today, UMB is a leader in providing multi-purpose card technology to the health care industry, supporting health savings accounts, flexible spending accounts and health reimbursement arrangements.
Funds in an HSA Base Account are held at UMB Bank, n.a., Member FDIC.
UMB Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, asset management, health spending solutions and related financial services to commercial, institutional and personal customers nationwide. Its banking subsidiaries own and operate 128 banking centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. Subsidiaries of the holding company and the lead bank, UMB Bank, n.a., include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers. For more information, visit umb.com or follow us on Twitter at @UMBFinancial.
Mandie Nelson, 816-860-5088
Kristin Kovach, 816-423-6131
KEYWORDS: United States North America Missouri
INDUSTRY KEYWORDS: Health Public Policy/Government Healthcare Reform Professional Services Banking Finance Insurance General Health