New chairman, Affordable Care Act focus of health care meeting

Human resources consultant David Johnson advised the GBC Health Care Committee on issues relating to the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday at the GBC offices in downtown Baltimore during Skip Counselman’s first meeting as chairman of the committee.

Johnson explained the nuances of the controversial excise tax on high-cost health plans, a provision of the Affordable Care Act that will take effect in 2018. The tax targets “Cadillac” health plans that provide workers the most generous level of health benefits, including premiums mostly paid by employers and low, if any, deductibles.

The tax will force employers to pay 40 percent of any dollar of what is considered “excessive” health spending.

“If you have a lot of sick employees, it could trigger the excise tax,” said Johnson, vice president and senior health consultant with Sibson Consulting.

The implementation of wellness programs is one way employers can promote a healthier workforce, which could prevent being subject to paying an excise tax.

Although companies may choose to invest in wellness initiatives such as providing pedometers to employees to encourage more movement, Johnson and Counselman gave examples of free resources to support healthier lifestyles:

Healthy HowardA public health model developed by Howard County

American Diabetes AssociationTips and resources for preventing and/or dealing with diabetes through healthy lifestyle choices

American Heart AssociationResources on nutrition, physicial activity, healthier kids, weight management, stress management and quitting smoking

Pathways to Successful Health Behavior Change: How Employers Can Make a Difference
Carlo C. DiClemente of UMBC’s March 2013 presentation on how to implement workforce wellness programs

Creating work environments that promote healthy lifestyles has been a main focus of the GBC Health Care Committee for years, recently through a two-year partnership with Healthiest Maryland.

Counselman, who led his first meeting at chairman, is also part of another GBC Health Care Committee initiative, “CEOs Fighting Diabetes.” This year, Counselman, the CEO of RCM&D, is joining five other business leaders (Christopher Brandt of Audacious Inquiry; Charles Monk of Saul Ewing, LLP; Brian Rogers of T. Rowe Price; Carmel Roque of Keswick Multi-Care; and Samuel Ross of Bon Secours Baltimore Health System) in a partnership with the American Diabetes Association to engage employees in wellness activities such as screenings, walking and cycling.

Counselman brings decades of health care expertise as the new chairman of the committee. He has served as chairman ofAscension Health’s investment committee, the Maryland Hospital Association, as well as St. Agnes HealthCare, where he also served as a board members for 25 years.

The Health Care Committee will next meet Tuesday, March 4. For more information or to join the committee, contact Liz Pettengill at 410-727-2820, ex. 41, or lisbethp@gbc.org.

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