Getting To Know The Affordable Care Act

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Throughout 2013 we’ll continue looking at how Lehigh is responding to the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that must be met by January 2014. 

In addition to complying with this law, we’re also responding to the recommendations of the Benefits Allocation Review process, which stated:


The university should develop a multiple year strategy to introduce health management or wellness incentives to encourage faculty and staff members to take an active role in assessing their health and taking steps to improve it.

Revising the university’s health care plans is a major project. To aid in the process, we’ve enlisted Mercer (who are also our consultants on the revisions to our retirement plan) to evaluate where we are, develop a comprehensive strategy, and assist with selecting the right vendor for Lehigh. 

We thought it might be helpful to share the many moving parts involved in the process that will get us to January 1, 2014. This regular column is where you’ll learn about developments within each of these activities as the work continues.


Revisions To The University Health Care Plans – Project Outline
  1. Engage Mercer and provide them with access to necessary data to accomplish the following:
    • Evaluate current plans in the context of the Affordable Care Act
    • Perform a Health Plan Audit
    • Draft comprehensive three-year health and wellness strategy
    • Develop vendor selection process for health management/wellness incentive support
    • Provide vendor implementation support


  2. Share plan design recommendations with Senior Officers, the Employee Relations Advisory Committee (ERAC), and the Faculty Compensation Committee (FCC) 
  3. Incorporate feedback from Senior Officers, ERAC and FCC into final plan design for health care plans and wellness strategy. Communicate this information in Spotlight.
  4. Revise agreements with all third party administrators (vendors) for health plans. Develop necessary legal documents, create processes and procedures.
  5. Create communication and enrollment materials
  6. Communication and information sessions for faculty and staff
  7. Open Enrollment – November 1 – 15, 2013
  8. New Plan Goes Live January 1, 2014


Other ACA-Related Tasks

Human Resources is also currently examining temporary employment and access to Lehigh sponsored health care. The Affordable Care Act requires access to employer-sponsored health insurance for employees who averaged 30 hours per week of work over a six month period. This naturally raises many issues for the university to analyze, and that process is also ongoing. 

Be sure to watch this column in May and June for more information on the three-year comprehensive health and wellness strategy.