Not only does the Affordable Care Act legislate for every US citizen to purchase Health Insurance of some form or another, it also obliges large and small businesses to provide their employees with Health Insurance. October 1 marks the opening of the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) marketplace, which will give employers with 50 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees a program through which to purchase Health Insurance coverage.
Effective of October 1, employers are required to provide a notice to employees about the exchange including whether or not they may have access to subsidies if their employer does not offer affordable health care. With Health Care Reform now fully underway, employers need to know how to inform their employees about the exchange and how it will affect them.
Focus on the exchange.
The one thing your staff will be most interested in knowing is how they are going to be covered and what they need to do to ensure they are covered. By first explaining that the exchanges are marketplaces where individuals and small employers can buy health insurance, you can give employees a comprehensive insight into what policies are available and what government subsidies will be available to them. Once you explain the ins and outs of the health insurance exchange to your employees, you can instruct them on how you will be providing coverage and what that coverage will include.
What else should you communicate?
As the Affordable Care Act is a quite complicated piece of legislation, it is vital that you don’t over-complicate things when explaining its provisions to your staff. Communicating too much information to employees can create unnecessary confusion and should be avoided. Instead, employers should focus on the present. Refrain from focusing on the long-term and hypothetical situations, as the Affordable Care Act may be subject to reform over the next 5 years.
The most important information to communicate to your employees is the fact that the Affordable Care Act will change many rules about health insurance in 2014. As of January 1, Insurance companies must accept everyone who applies for coverage, regardless of their condition of health. In addition, the law also requires that every individual must be covered or else they will be subject to a hefty fine, come January. By outlining the timeframe of the Affordable Care Act coming into effect, you can ensure your employees are aware of deadlines and fully prepared for them.
HOW should you communicate?
By planning for a consistent communication plan, you can cover how the Health Insurance Exchanges will affect employees in the near future, while accounting for long-term developments. In communicating with employees, it’s important to use all available resources to make information as accessible as possible.
The provisions of the Affordable Care Act can be difficult to throw your head around, but it’s crucially important for employers to get up to speed with how it will affect them and their employees come October 1 and beyond. By analysing the legislation and devising a straight-forward communications strategy, you can ensure your Business is ready when the SHOP exchanges open.
Struggling to throw your head around the Affordable Care Act? By contacting us directly, you can avail of FREE expert advice on how to prepare for Health Care Reform.