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Miss. Businesses Gear Up for the ACA

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 09 Oct 2013 11:31am | comments

Business leaders in Mississippi say they are preparing for the full impact, and looking for the potential benefits, of the health care reform law.  The law could lead to employers taking a bigger role in the health of their workers.

 Several hundred Mississippi business and health care leaders gathered at Mississippi College School of Business to examine the new Health Care Reform law as all its provision slowly click into place.

 An overriding theme from the speakers is to prepare for the law to stay in place and adjust to the new reality.

 Bill Ray, the CEO of Bankplus, believes the law will drive employers too look for more ways to improve their employee's health because it will allow them to offer bigger discounts to employees that enroll in wellness plans.

 "At the core you are talking about the health and wellbeing and the happiness of your employees. Especially for services business your employees are the front line. You are who they are. They represent the business day in and day out," Ray said.

 Ray does not think the law will lead to companies dumping their health insurance benefit and forcing employees to purchase insurance on the exchange.

 For years health care costs have been beyond the control of employers, but that could be changing says Tommy Prewitt the president of the Healthcare Delivery Institute.

 "There is a lot of business people in this room They are going to become much more savvy purchasers of health care too. Its been a black box for them. And they are going to demand data. And they are going to shop. It is going to be disruptive but in the end the I think it is going to be better for everybody," Prewitt said.

 One expert also predicted that competition from the individual and small business insurance exchange could bring more competition to Mississippi.

 The dean of the Mississippi College School of Business Marcelo Eduardo says the new health care reform law is a reality that businesses must learn to respond to.

 "The health care act is being implemented. There are no delays in it. It is just a matter of getting informed. So I would argue that the uncertainly comes from a lack of information not because we don't know exactly what is going to happen," Eduardo said.

 Employers in Mississippi currently provide insurance for 48% of residents in the state.






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