“Healthcare reform is confusing for brokers, employers and employees with over half of each group consistently feeling overwhelmed and under-informed,” says Brian Poger, CEO of Benefitter. “Given the tens of thousands of pages of regulations, it’s no surprise, but our research suggests the issues can be narrowed down to a few critical questions.”
To prepare for 2014 and ensure that employers and employees get the best possible deal on health insurance, Benefitter proposes asking the following five critical questions to insurance agents, brokers, or benefits consultants:
Question 1: What is the best way to comply with the October 1 Notice of Marketplace Department of Labor deadline in a manner that’s understandable to my employees?
Why ask it?
The Affordable Care Act requires nearly all U.S. employers to communicate a “notice of coverage options” to their employees by October 1st, 2013. The letter, email, or hand-delivered message needs to go to every employee on payroll, whether their full-time, part-time, seasonal, or any other status. There are detailed instructions from the government on what must be communicated, and often your broker can help employers get this task done.
Question 2: How can I help employees who are not covered by my company plan get enrolled in affordable health insurance?
Why ask it?
Even if employees are not eligible for an employer-sponsored group health plan, they will still look to their you as their employer for answer about healthcare coverage and the state marketplaces. As soon as the required “notification of coverage options” is sent to all employees, they will be reaching out for answers. Learning about software solutions such as Benefitter allows you to answer employees questions and to guide them through the process of purchasing healthcare coverage.
Question 3: What plan changes must I make to be compliant with the three major requirements under healthcare reform: affordability, minimum coverage, and anti-discrimination?
Why ask it?
Healthcare reform imposes several new requirements on employers, many of which come into effect in 2014. As an employer, understanding these evolving requirements can help you avoid costly mistakes, and serve your employees better.
Question 4: What is the cost to me and my employees if I discontinue my employer health insurance plan?
Why ask it?
The Affordable Care Act has upended the economics of employer sponsored health coverage. Several changes in the law make the financial outcomes of decisions very different in 2014 than ever before. As an employer, you should understand the changes and how key decisions will affect you financially. Just a few examples of important changes in the law are:
1. There are new, more expensive minimum standards that group plans need to meet to avoid tax penalties.
2. Employees who earn under under 400% of federal poverty level (FPL) can often get subsidies from the federal government, but only if their employers don’t offer a qualified health plan.
3. Employees can never be turned down for health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, nor will their cost of insurance be different due to a pre-existing condition.
Even if employees are not eligible for an employer-sponsored group health plan, they will still look to their you as their employer for answer about healthcare coverage and the state marketplaces. As soon as the required “notification of coverage options” is stent to all employees, they will be reaching out for answers. Learning about software solutions such as Benefitter allows you to answer employees questions and to guide them through the process of purchasing healthcare coverage.
Question 5: What ongoing checks should I put in place to make sure my company remains compliant with the Affordable Care Act over time?
Why ask it?
The law constantly changes and evolves which makes it especially important in 2014 and beyond to review your healthcare strategy periodically with the support of a licensed broker. As the law changes, there may be opportunities to make adjustments to your strategy and save money.
The Affordable Care Act changes how most employers should manage healthcare coverage for their employees. Asking five key questions above will put any employer in a strong position to deal with the changes to come.
Benefitter helps employers and employees confidently navigate the evolving healthcare reform legislation. Benefitter works closely with agents, brokers and consultants to deliver straightforward software-as-a-service solutions to employers and employees. Based in San Francisco, California, Benefitter is funded in part by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Aberdare Ventures, and Mayo Clinic. www.benefitter.com