Look on bright side of ACA

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

OCCC – Despite a government shutdown aimed at defunding The Affordable Care Act (ACA), the program is likely to move forward. That could be a good thing, says The VGM Group’s Mark Higley.

“It will increase DME sales—there will be 30 million more people with insurance,” said Higley, vice president of development, in his session, “Homecare Employers and Preparation for Compliance with the Affordable Care Act,” on Wednesday.

Higley expects that influx to add 4% to an HME provider’s bottom line.

As for the potential costs to employers that will be eventually required to provide insurance—that shouldn’t affect 96% of HME providers, Higley said.

“Most of you already offer insurance or aren’t affected because you don’t employ more than 50 people,” he said.

There is also a potential tax benefit to the ACA. Smaller employers who pay for more than half of their employees’ insurance can file an 8941 form to get reimbursed for one-third of what they spent going back to 2010.

The current gridlock over the ACA could also benefit the HME industry by eliminating the device tax, said co-presenter John Gallagher, vice president of government relations for VGM. The tax may go away as part of negotiations to get the government back up and running, he said.

Despite everything going on in Washington, D.C., providers should continue to make their voices heard about the market-pricing program to replace competitive bidding, Gallagher said. They should also keep an eye on those negotiations, he said.

“We need to make sure the industry is not used as a pay-for in this,” he said.