Part Five: The Five Biggest Mistakes Brokers Are Making About Obamacare
5. “It Will Probably Be Delayed Again Anyway” (Doing Nothing = Really Bad Idea)
Probably the single worst planning idea I have encountered is the ‘I’ve got plenty of time’ approach. I talk to brokers every day who tell me they are advising their clients to do nothing until January 1, 2015.
For two years I have been advising my clients to get prepared and start implementing what they could and planning for what they could not. About ¼ of my clients listened and ¾ ignored me. The difference between these groups now is striking.
Here are some of the differences between the groups that have been taking this seriously and the ones who are just getting started:
My clients who started planning and implementing:
- Already implemented their new insurance programs and have even found ways to save money over what they were doing before Obamacare.
- Calm and relaxed about the ACA.
- They have a firm grasp on the law and any new changes to the ACA only require a slight adjustment.
- Because they took their time getting ready, they had time to miss things and make corrections if they made mistakes.
- They implemented measuring periods that began well before February 2014 and will be less likely to be scrutinized by the IRS or HHS.
- They have been documenting their activities for years and during an IRS audit, they will get the benefit of the doubt since they have been making diligent efforts to comply.
- Because the owners are calm and ready, they are able to educate their employees and managers and there is an overall sense of solidity and preparedness in the organization.
- Even if the law changes again, they will be ready to adjust and to see any loopholes or opportunities.
My clients who figured there was plenty of time:
- Many still have no plan to be ready by January 1, 2015.
- Since they are now facing crunch time they don’t have time to adjust. They are stuck with whatever they did for the past year, even if what they did was bad for their organization.
- They are going to be trying to nail down insurance in the last quarter … along with millions of other employers and individuals who also thought there was enough time.
- When they are audited, the IRS will see that they were thumbing their nose at the ACA. This probably won’t win them favor with their auditor.
- They are anxious and angry about the ACA and understandably feel afraid about what is going to happen to them. Ignorance breeds fear. There is peace of mind that comes from understanding and knowledge.
- They were confused before the law and continue to be confused as each change gets handed down. It feels like a moving target.
- Since they are confused, often their employees are confused and angry. This impacts the entire organization.
- They missed out on opportunities that could have already started saving them money.
Even though the law was delayed, that was not an excuse to do nothing. Smart brokers and employers saw it as an extra life and used that time wisely. It is not too late, but time is running out.