Although it's tough to trace the saying's origins back to a single politician, many lawmakers at one time or another have said, "Elections have consequences."

Whether they voted for President Obama's re-election or not, employers and employees nationwide are beginning to feel the consequences of the 2012 presidential contest.

Less than one week after Obama won a second term in office, dozens of employers already were setting about the business of offsetting the impending business costs of implementing health care reform or other Obama policies they view as unfriendly to their industry.

As EBN legal contributor Frank Palmieri told me just before election day, an Obama re-election would have employers "doing the numbers" to see how PPACA's various mandates would stack up against the ability to maintain profits.

"If you have 47, 48, 49 employees, [maybe you're] not going to hire because you want to avoid PPACA's requirement" to offer health coverage for employers with 50 or more workers, Palmieri said.

Another assessment for employers to make in an Obama second term is reviewing part-time staff to see "who's working an average of 30 hours a week, and whether to cut back on the hours they work," he said. "Say Mary, John and Harry are 30 hours a week and you haven't given them benefits in the past. Now, they have to come into your plan" because PPACA mandates coverage for part-time employees working at least 30 hours per week.

So far, Papa John's CEO John Schnatter and Applebee's franchise CEO Zane Tankel don't like what they see. Schnatter said he will cut worker hours and raise the cost of the company's pizzas by as much as 14 cents in response to PPACA. Tankel said he also is considering reducing worker hours as well as implementing a hiring and expansion freeze to combat PPACA-related costs.

Other large employers - already subject to the coverage mandate, but wanting to maintain some level of coverage from a competitive standpoint - "will want to see if the exchanges are an effective alternative," Palmieri said. This month, governors must decide whether to create state health insurance exchanges or have the federal government do it for them. At presstime, only 13 states had committed to doing so.

But, as this month's cover story suggests, employees neither want, nor are prepared for, the reality of making health insurance purchases on their own. "When it comes to ... health care, ultimately, everyone would really like that someone just takes care of it for them," Jennifer Benz, CEO of Benz Communications, says in Buyer beware. "We have to acknowledge that contradiction - not just in what people prefer, but in what people are capable of actually doing."

Still Palmieri warns that a final consideration for employers is to "drop coverage altogether and pay the penalty. All you need is one or two large employers to do it, and others will consider it a viable option."

I refuse to set foot on the minefield that is the intersection of business and politics. But I would like to know: Did your company/does your company plan to fire employees, change employee hours or make other workforce decisions based on the outcome of the election?

Send letters, queries and story ideas to Editor-in-Chief Kelley M. Butler at kelley.butler@sourcemedia.com. Send her a message on twitter at @ebnews_editor.

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