Brad Pricer, human resources process leader at CUNA Mutual Group, said credit unions should explore opportunities most likely to come from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday.
“The most important thing … is what opportunities does this provide for them,” Pricer said in reaction to the Supreme Court’s historic decision.
He said the reform act establishes public and private healthcare exchanges, which will feature a range of insurance plan options.
“Government exchanges will provide a very limited set of plans that employers can put before their employees,” said Pricer, who has been helping credit unions and leagues navigate healthcare reform.
“The private exchanges are going to be much richer. There are going to be many more choices for employees or employers,” he said.
Pricer said he believes these exchanges will provide opportunities for credit unions to better anticipate their healthcare costs.
“(Healthcare) has been a defined benefit approach where (companies) sponsor a plan and the employers’ cost increases are tied to how the plan performs over time,” he said. “Now, the exchanges allow a shift to the defined contribution approach – much like what happened in the retirement space.”
Employers can decide which exchange to participate in, offer employees a certain amount of dollars to pay for insurance, and allow employees to select a policy to fit their needs.
“It allows the credit unions – year over year – to better anticipate what their healthcare offering is going to cost them,” Pricer said. “It allows them to function more effectively.”
Pricer also advised credit unions to meet with their healthcare broker to make sure they are complying with the reform act’s requirements.
However, these requirements are expected to change if President Barack Obama is not re-elected in November.