News and Analysis
The TEC Institute at The Ohio State University is placing approximately 10 graduate and five undergraduate interns in central Ohio businesses in summer 2016. If you are interested in a potential intern, please see more information about the Wheeler graduate or Wolstein undergraduate intern programs. Requests are due January 8, 2016.
The Affordable Care Act implemented a tax on employee health care benefits that is set to go into effect in January 2018. A new study commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), Heads Up: A Tax on Employee Benefits Is Coming Your Way, analyzes the economic impact of this 40% percent tax on health benefits under several scenarios. Findings include:
- The accelerating nature of the tax will prompt many employers to continually increase cost sharing and/or eliminate benefits.
- If health insurance premium prices increase moderately, the tax would hit almost 30% of manufacturers’ plans by 2025 and more than 80% by 2035.
- Virtually all employers would end up facing the tax at some point.
- Job losses from the tax could total 2.6 million by 2035, and real personal income in 2014 dollars would be reduced by almost $3,800 per household.
- The economic tax burden would reduce GDP by 1.7% by 2035.
This week the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee heard sponsor testimony on House Bill 350, which requires autism coverage be expanded to all large group employer health plans and other health plans that were grandfathered under the Affordable Care Act.
Reps. Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) and Lou Terhar (R-Cincinnati) provided joint sponsor testimony. Grossman testified: “Insurers in Ohio are not required to provide coverage for this treatment if the affected individual is covered by a fully insured large group plan or a grandfathered plan in the small group or individual markets.”
Rep. Tehar’s testimony also went to the coverage gap.
The OMA has produced this analysis of the measure, which says: “This proposed legislation would represent an increase in the benefits that plans must provide, and thus it could potentially increase the cost of the plans impacted. Furthermore, the state would not be required under ACA to subsidize the cost of providing these additional benefits.” OMA’s Rob Brundrett has the lead on this bill.
Brinkman said: “Our neighboring states of Michigan and Indiana have passed right to work and Ohio would be the 26th state to do so, after Wisconsin in March of this year. In the global economy when companies are considering places to move or expand into, Ohio must be able to compete with Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin for those jobs. Right to work is long overdue here in Ohio.”
Separately, Speaker Cliff Rosenberger said he is supportive of the concept, but has not yet decided if the bill will get a floor vote.
In October, Reps. Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) and Lou Terhar (R-Cincinnati) introduced the latest version of the autism insurance mandate bill, House Bill 350. This version looks to fill in the coverage gaps left in the wake of Governor Kasich’s directive from December 2012.
In December 2012, Governor Kasich signed a directive defining Autism Spectrum Disorder as a Habilitative Service, therefore making coverage a federally-mandated Essential Health Benefit per the Affordable Care Act.
However, the directive was limited in that it applied mainly to individual and small group plans. House Bill 350 would require plans not addressed per the directive to cover Autism Spectrum Disorder, including large group plans and small group grandfathered plans.
Here’s an analysis of the bill by OMA counsel, Bricker and Eckler. Please share this information with your human resources department, and contact OMA’s Rob Brundrett with any concerns regarding the legislation.
The OMA joined with more than 100 organizations in a letter urging Congress to oppose any further increases in premiums paid to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) by sponsors of single-employer defined benefit plans, noting increases would “only add unneeded uncertainty for employers, stifle job creation, and encourage sponsors to exit the defined benefit pension system.”
The groups wrote: “The premium increases included in the budget deal recently enacted by Congress come on top of nearly $17 billion in premium increases already imposed over the last three years. Prior to this year’s increases, Congress had already more than tripled the flat rate premium from $19 per participant to $64 per participant. Such premiums will rise another 25 percent to $80 a participant under the current budget deal. Under prior increases, the variable rate premium had also tripled from $9 per $1,000 of underfunding to $30 per $1,000 of underfunding and now will increase another 36 percent to $41 per participant as a result of the recent budget deal.”
OMA Connections Partner, Dinsmore, updates us about The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (Compassionate Use Act) that was signed by Illinois Governor Quinn on August 1, 2013 and went into effect on January 1, 2014. The Compassionate Use Act legalizes the use of medical marijuana in Illinois by qualifying individuals.
On Monday, November 9, 2015, sales of medical cannabis began at eight dispensaries located throughout the state. According to estimates from the Illinois Department of Public Health, there are currently over 3,000 qualifying individuals in Illinois.
Helpfully to Ohio manufacturers thinking through the implications of marijuana legalization, Dinsmore describes some of the issues with which Illinois employers are grappling.
The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Internship Program makes it easier for manufacturing companies to offer high-quality internships to local high school students. Internships are a great way to expose students to potential careers, give them hands-on industry experience and recruit future employees.
Check out OH!Manufacturing’s blog, Today’s Students are Tomorrow’s Future: MEP Internship Program Returns, to learn more about this program and how to apply.
The 2015 RSM (formerly McGladrey) Manufacturing & Distribution Executive Summit – Columbus, on Wednesday, November 18, will feature:
- Highlights from RSM’s 2015 Manufacturing & Distribution Monitor survey
- Keynote speaker, Eugenio Aleman, Senior Economist, Wells Fargo Bank
- And panelists Bob Grote, CEO, Grote Company; Jeffrey Wahl, Global Corporate Partner, Squire Patton Boggs, and Mukesh Patel, International Tax, RSM
Ohio just dodged the marijuana legalization bullet, but already pot proponents are planning their next legalization push, and the General Assembly may undertake a medicinal marijuana proposal.
To help you understand workplace policies and practices you can implement now, OMA will offer a webinar on two dates, November 12 and November 17 (click for details), that will help participants:
• Understand who is doing what to legalize pot in Ohio;
• Learn about workplace issues in other states with legalized marijuana;
• Identify ways to maximize workplace policies and safety now so that you’re ready if and when marijuana legalization is passed by Ohio voters.