Can Your Law Firm Take On an Additional Layer of Costs?

Every day we wake up with a new story on the latest proposal and counter-proposal for either “Health Care Reform” or “Health Insurance Reform” or whatever other moniker the administration has decided will more easily sell.  With what’s being referred to as the Baucus Plan it appears that every business, including your law firm, small or large, will be required to absorb another layer of costs.  If your firm now pays for health insurance for everyone who works for the Firm then there may not be additional costs for you.  However, I think it unlikely that such is the case with many of the smaller (2 to 10 lawyer) firms.

So here’s the question?  Where do you plan to get the funds to pay for this new mandated benefit?

There’s no need to consider or discuss whether the benefit is desirable or appropriate as that decision is being made for us in Washington.  However, you likely won’t be able to print money to pay for it.  (If you do, be sure to keep it quiet!)

So will you cut benefits that you currently provide to your employees?  Perhaps that would come in vacation days, or sick days, or perhaps medical leave?  It’s likely your staff will see any reduction in current benefits to be a penalty imposed by management rather than the government.  So how will that impact job performance and/or employee retention?

Perhaps you can raise your fees to pay for the insurance.  Of course, that requires your clients to comply with increased fees.  I suspect that if you thought you could raise your fees, you’d probably already have done so.

Perhaps you can simply reduce distribution of profits to the owners.  Yes, I know I’m stepping on toes here, but the money’s got to come from somewhere.

I know I’ve not provided answers here, just questions.  However, we each need to be asking these questions now because it’s likely that the train will be leaving the station pretty soon.  Guess who’s paying the freight?

I’d like to hear your ideas on how you plan on paying for healthcare for all your employees.  Let me know in the comments below, a kind of informal poll.  Thanks.

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