As the resident health care reform geek, I get questions from our clients every day regarding various articles they read or emails they received about the Affordable Care Act (ACA.)  Most are very good questions (it’s a complex law), but all too often the question is coming from an email that was designed to scare them so the sender can sell them something.  The one I find most absurd is the concept of Pay-or-Play.  “You need to meet with us because we have a calculator that tells you if you need to Pay-or-Play!”

Anyone who knows anything about HR knows that the employer/employee relationship is complex and the benefits program can have a significant effect on that relationship.  Health insurance is an emotional issue for many people and the idea that an employer can just run a spreadsheet to decide if it is cost effective to provide it is silly.

If you provide benefits now and decide to stop doing so in 2014 because you think it will be cheaper to let employees find their own coverage on the Exchange, you will have some employees head toward the door.  There is no reliable statistic on how many…and maybe your savings will make it worth the cost of the turnover…but I doubt it.  You need to weigh the risks and rewards carefully.  Just make sure you don’t do it with one of those silly calculators.