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Will ACA mean longer absences from the job?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is about to be fully implemented and, unfortunately, many employers may be overlooking the law’s implications for employees’ attendance at work. 

We know this because researchers recently polled benefits policy decision-makers at large organizations and senior professionals in the insurance industry and asked them questions to measure their employers’ preparedness for the act’s full implementation.

The questions including whether they had considered how the reforms might change employee attendance at work and issues around worker disability.

Most employers have not, the researchers concluded. 

Unhappily, another major finding was that both employers and insurers anticipate “increased incidence and duration of long-term absences.”

Why? Because with more Americans enjoying the benefits of health coverage, there will be longer waiting periods for access to care providers. This will be exacerbated, the report said, by the dwindling numbers of primary care physicians entering the profession.

“Most respondents believe access to routine care will change – 42 percent believe that the ability of employees to see a physician for routine care in a timely manner will get worse, while only 21 percent believe it will improve,” their study reported.

The thinking about disability issues wasn’t any more positive. 

“There is more uncertainty about how PPACA will impact the number of disability claims, although those who feel knowledgeable enough to predict what will happen are more likely to believe the number of claims will rise due to employees no longer fearing a loss of health care coverage from a long-term absence,” the study said.

About the Author


Will Temby

Will has enjoyed a 20-year career in leadership positions in the hospitality and travel industry throughout the U.S. with the Hyatt, Sheraton, Hilton, Renaissance and Steamboat Ski and Resort corporations. Will received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. From 2000-2007, he served as President and CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. He also served as Vice President-Special Projects for the University of Colorado Foundation from 2007 to 2009. Will is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Homeland Defense Foundation and former member of the United States Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. He is married to Nan, has five wonderful children, and enjoys coaching, traveling, hiking, golfing and skiing.

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