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New Federal Health Care Bill and How it Will Impact HR

There has certainly been much talk during the last few months regarding the new federal health care bill and how it may eventually emerge and affect various segments of society, including businesses.

Although at this time it is not yet known how the final legislation will evolve, it is inevitable that human resource departments will be affected in some manner by various provisions of the new healthcare bill. While some of the provisions of the bill are of a fairly limited scope, there are other proposed provisions that could have a much broader impact on the workplace.

One of those provisions relates to nursing mothers in the workplace. Under this provision, employers would be mandated to provide a ‘reasonable’ amount of time and an appropriate place for nursing mothers to be allowed to express their breast milk during the first year after giving birth. Companies that would be exempted are those businesses with less than 50 employees when such a requirements would impose an undue hardship on the employer.

There is also a section of the healthcare bill that would reduce out of pocket costs for retirees who are under the age of 65 and who receive health insurance from a former employer. This section would provide a reinsurance program that is temporary, whereby the government funds 80% of some of the higher cost insurance claims that are filed by retired workers. As they would be freed from some of the higher cost claims, it is expected that employers would then be able to reduce the share for health premiums of retirees along with other costs.

In addition, HR departments also need to be aware of a section related to prescription drug pricing. The bill would require pharmaceutical benefit managers who are responsible for administering drug plans for many businesses to disclose all of the details related to the discount negotiations made between pharmacies who receive rebates from drug manufacturers.

Keeping an eye on the emerging bill and the provisions that are likely to affect businesses and human resource departments is crucial to ensure you are prepared for coming changes.

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