EDITOR'S NOTE:

Health-care reform. It’s daunting. It’s controversial. And no matter how you feel about the law, with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June, reform is coming. And when it does, it will have a sweeping impact on business in our state.

When health and wellness reporter Joe Gardyasz and I first sat down to discuss coverage of health-care reform after the court’s ruling, we realized much of the discussion and debate was about the merits of the reform, and whether or not it was a good or bad thing.

We quickly determined - it doesn’t matter. Health reform is coming.

From that initial meeting we formulated a goal for a series on health-care reform: to help bring clarity and understanding of health reform’s impacts, changes and challenges that will affect businesses, the insurance industry, and health-care providers.

There is dramatically more information for us to delve into than could ever fit comfortably in one single Business Record or into a single reader’s head for that matter. Each of the three areas has its own set of challenges, and our challenge for this series is presenting the information in a way for you to digest it.

So, beginning this week with a look at the impact on businesses, we’ll use our series to take a broad look at all three areas.

Then, in the weeks, months and years leading up to and through the changes, our promise is to continue providing an advance look into a variety of the changes and challenges as they arise, in an effort to help you remain knowledgeable on the impacts of such a complex reform.

– Chris Conetzkey, editor of the Business Record


BUSINESSES

August 31, 2012
MAIN: What businesses need to know now to prepare for health reform 

On Jan. 1, 2014, a host of new rules, mandates, taxes and incentives under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will go into effect, dramatically shifting the landscape of the employer-provided health insurance model that’s been in place for decades. The mass of changes on the horizon can be overwhelming. I had the opportunity to sit down with several health-care and employment experts in an effort to sort through the mess. What follows is a detailed look at the biggest things Central Iowa businesses need to be doing to prepare, decisions they should be considering and a look at the timeline of the law’s mandates.

Related Stories:
Service helps patients, employers cut health-care costs
* Key effective mandate dates
* Health reform online resources
* Penalties for not offering health care coverage
* Reader responses: Biggest concern regarding compliance with the new law
* Lind Statewide health-care survey


INSURANCE INDUSTRY
September 7, 2012
Main: How will the health-care overhaul change Iowa’s insurance landscape?

About 12 percent of Iowa’s population does not have health insurance coverage. For the majority of Iowans who do have coverage, premiums have increased at an average rate of 10 percent annually for the past decade. Whether the federal health-care overhaul can achieve the goal of reducing the uninsured population – and at the same time at least slowing the rate of increase in premiums for group and individual policyholders – remains the big question. Here are some key issues your business needs to know about how the health insurance market will change under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or if you prefer, “Obamacare.”

Related Stories:
* 10 commonly asked questions about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act


HEALTH-CARE PROVIDERS
September 14, 2012
Main: How will health-care providers (and your care) be affected? 

Iowa’s health-care providers are on the front lines of a campaign to lower costs, improve quality and increase access to care. Beginning next month, Iowa hospitals will start to see whether quality initiatives they’ve instituted in the past couple of years have been effective, as some significant changes to the Medicare payments systems from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act take effect.

Related Stories:
* Key dates for health-care providers