Nielsen, Travelers Survey: Employers Unfamiliar with Risks Posed by ACA

April 29, 2014

Travelers has released a Nielsen Research survey that offers insight into U.S. employers’ familiarity with and preparedness for the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The survey, which was sponsored by Travelers, found that many businesses may not be prepared for the new mandates. The carrier has also launched new tools to assist clients in navigating the unfamiliar environment.

Among the more than 800 corporate decision-makers that were polled in March 2014, 36 percent say they are not very familiar with the PPACA’s overall requirements, and another 31 percent report being only somewhat familiar with the law’s requirements. Approximately 25 percent report they have not yet begun preparing for PPACA compliance. Many companies may face potential penalties and management liability risks that could result in lawsuits, regulatory actions, and reputational harm, according to the results.

“Most of the public attention around healthcare reform has focused on the new health insurance coverage mandates – giving employers very little information and context for the additional liability exposures the PPACA creates for them if they are not in compliance,” said Jeffrey Klenk, senior vice president, Management Liability, Travelers Bond & Financial Products.

However, says Klenk, there are tools available to help organizations of all sizes address these risks as they prepare to implement the PPACA.

More Familiarity Means More Concerns

Respondents that report being extremely familiar with PPACA (33 percent) are three times more likely to be concerned about potential lawsuits, illustrating that the more familiar an organization is with the law’s requirements, the more it understands the liability-related exposures created by the healthcare mandates.

Even though employers can face penalties for failing to comply with the new healthcare law, lawsuits and other liability risks were at the bottom of employers’ concerns around PPACA, pointing to an increased need for education on both the PPACA itself and the risks associated with non-compliance. For example, 47 percent of those surveyed say they are not very familiar with whistleblower protections provided to employees reporting violations.

Despite this lack of understanding of the PPACA and its associated risks, the majority of employers do not plan to seek advice from outside resources. Over 55 percent of employers said they do not plan to receive assistance from an independent agent or outside legal counsel to better understand the risks to their organization.

Most employers are also not aware of the insurance options available to assist them. To help its clients gain a deeper understanding of PPACA and help employers assess their risks, Travelers is offering several options to assist policyholders.

“As these mandates and the healthcare landscape evolve, it is important that we continue to work together with our independent agent partners to identify and promote risk mitigation strategies,” said Klenk. “Through education, prevention and management liability insurance, businesses will be better positioned to prepare for the unexpected.

Travelers has launched a new risk management portal to help agents and customers answer common questions about the healthcare law and liability concerns. Information on the website provides details about the new PPACA requirements and the management liability exposures employers face.

Travelers also will offer resources such as model notices and educational materials addressing the PPACA’s requirements and related management liability exposures. In addition, Travelers directors and officers, employment practices and fiduciary policyholders will have exclusive access to an ACA HOTLINE, where policyholders will have direct access to attorneys specializing in the PPACA.

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