The Affordable Care Act forces employers to participate on a¬†greater level than before in the healthcare insurance needs of their employees. For a staffing company, this means needing to make very clear decisions about how the new law will impact you ‚Äď and your customers.

Not only are the ACA waters still rather murky for employers, with less than a week to go for anyone without healthcare insurance to buy it via the new healthcare exchanges, the murkiness also extends to the general public.

In fact, the National Academy of Sciences just published this paper called the Prepardness of Americans for the Affordable Care Act and the news isn't good.

Their conclusion? "A substantial share of the population is unprepared to navigate the new exchanges."

How unprepared? At the time the survey of 6,000 "statistically representative" Americans was conducted, half of them hadn't even heard of the health exchanges, where people can sign up for coverage, or of the subsidies that help people pay for insurance.

"A substantial share of the population is unprepared to navigate the new exchanges."

Only 25% of survey respondents said they knew "a fair amount" about the Affordable Care Act, and 42% of them "could not correctly describe a deductible."

That's why the authors of the NAS paper conclude that simplified options,decisions aids and improved health insurance product design "will be crucial for ACA's success."

The authors opine there are some real core issues working against the successful implementation of the ACA.

For starters they say, Americans have not been particularly adept historically at weighing the benefits and the costs of various health insurance options and then making good decisions accordingly.

In the specific case of the ACA, the complexity may deter people from making a choice at all.

They also say the populations most likely to be affected by the ACA - the young, less educated, and less affluent - "are also more likely to be financially illiterate."

With overall knowledge about health insurance and health reform so low, obviously it doesn't bode well for the changes under the ACA.

"These new healthcare regulations are complex, and they are going to dramatically change the staffing marketplace."

"Particularly worrisome is the lack of understanding among lower income families," conclude the authors of the National Academy of Sciences paper. "The group is ineligible for Medicaid and could benefit from the exchanges. They appear at risk of making poor decisions when shopping for health insurance. Given that this group was not well informed about the exchanges, they may miss out on the opportunity to obtain coverage (and possibly subsidies) and, as a result of the mandate, be penalized for the lack of health insurance."

"These new healthcare regulations are complex, and they are going to dramatically change the staffing marketplace," states David Dourgarian, CEO, TempWorks. "Every single staffing buying decision made within the next several years is going to be made with ACA compliance in mind."

It doesn't sound as if the American public is ready. Are you? 

aca knowledge chart

Tags: Staffing, TempWorks, Affordable Care Act, News, David Dourgarian, Obamacare and staffing, Obamacare compliance, National Academy of Sciences