The COVID-19 crisis has revealed a set of unique challenges for the healthcare industry such as an increased number of under-equipped healthcare facilities being left with little to no way to deal with COVID patients. Also, since it costs nearly $250 billion to process 30 billion healthcare transactions each year, even larger healthcare practices are experiencing the pressure brought on by the pandemic. These have brought about the immediate need for new advances, and almost on a required basis. Below is a detailed look at what these advancements are and how they’ll be implemented.
Changes in Benefit Plans
There’s no doubt that the economic strain of the pandemic will be felt across the board during the pandemic, but one specific area that is likely to change dramatically is benefit plans. As employers continue to manage to keep their facilities clean and enforce the use of masks, they now have to consider how benefit plans may need to be expanded to ensure their employees have sufficient coverage, not just to sustain their lifestyle, but also to keep their workforce productive.
Flexible Benefits Plans
As the economic state of the healthcare industry is increasingly strained, a greater influx of flexible types of benefit plans will most likely rise in demand. One example of these flexible plan types is the new individual coverage health reimbursement arrangement (ICHRA), established on Jan. 1, 2020. This plan allows employees to maintain a greater degree of control over their healthcare spending, some tax advantages, as well as other benefits. There are no business size or allowance amount restrictions, allowing for larger businesses to forego the set-backs brought on by larger, more prohibitive plans.
Accommodating New Benefits Plans
Though consumer-directed plan offerings provide much-needed adaptability, employers will certainly need much more guidance to navigate the complexities. In conjunction with the increase in flexible benefits plans, there will most likely be an increased need for consultants and legal advisors for these businesses to remain compliant. These resources, in turn, must remain informed about any and all legal developments that affect worker’s compensation, healthcare, and benefit plans. These legal developments may change rapidly in the face of legislators scurrying to address the pandemic’s economic impact, and especially in the wake of a changing political climate post-election.