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Financial Pulse: How Can Businesses Make Best Use Of Obamacare Extension?

Adaptive Planning Finance Business Intelligence Obamacare Employee MandateBased on the findings of Adaptive’s latest quarterly volatility survey, CFOs throughout the U.S. began sleeping better earlier this month when the Federal government announced a one-year delay of the employer-mandate provisions within the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, which will now take effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

The year-long reprieve gives businesses more time to prepare and comply with the mandate that will instill a $2K-per-employee fine for businesses that:

  1. Employ at least 50 full-time workers, and;

  2. Do not offer quality, affordable employee healthcare as defined by the ACA.

While the U.S. Department of Treasury will soon publish formal guidance and advice for businesses to make best use of the delay, some finance leaders and government officials have already offered their own advice.

On his blog, Mark Mazur of the U.S. Department of Treasury encouraged businesses to “maintain or expand healthcare coverage,” in order to avoid healthcare fines in 2015.

A particularly interesting take was Sharon Stiller’s advice in her column on Yahoo! Finance in early July. Stiller advised businesses to look at the delay as an opportunity — one that might not otherwise have been available to them — to conduct planning based on the potential impact of Obamacare.

And therein lies the unique challenge that the employee mandate poses for businesses. Generally speaking, CFOs and finance departments have traditionally carried out their corporate budgeting and financial forecasting based on microeconomic issues within company control – lead generation, product performance, marketing, etc.

Of course macroeconomic issues like broader economic stability have always factored in. But the idea of planning exclusively based on a macroeconomic issue like healthcare reform, something completely out of company control, is new to many finance teams.

This new type of challenge requires a new type of business solution. The best thing a finance leader can do for a business? Put the business in the best position to efficiently adapt to the impact of Obamacare, if any, as needed. That requires two main elements:

  1. Frequent and updated visual analytics that provide an intuitive look into overall business performance.
  2.  Greater collaboration during the budgeting process in order efficiently re-forecast, re-budget, and re-plan as needed.

Talk to Adaptive: How is your business preparing for the employee mandate, and what role, if any, will cloud technology play? Tweet your answers to @AdaptivePlans, or post them below.

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