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10 things to remind your employees about ACA

“People still have a lot of questions regarding the Affordable Care Act and many are concerned about how it might affect their benefits,” says Julie Stich, research director for the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. Are you ready to answer those questions? The IFEBP has released a list of 10 guidelines it recommends for ACA communication; stick with these and your workforce should have a clear picture of the Obamacare landscape.

1. Explain the law simply and concisely 1. Explain the law simply and concisely

The 2010 health care reform act is a broad, long and complicated affair, even more so when all the relevant guidance is included. Speak plainly and stick to the basics when communicating with your health care plan participants.

2. Focus on the most immediate changes 2. Focus on the most immediate changes

Do your employees need to know about the Cadillac Tax of 2018 now, or will that only confuse them further? In your communications, cover what is happening now with open enrollment and what's coming up next year.

3. Hone in on the areas that most impact your workers 3. Hone in on the areas that most impact your workers

As ever, tailored communications prove the most effective.

4. Clarify what workers need to do 4. Clarify what workers need to do

If you are maintaining your coverage and your employees don’t have to go to public exchanges, make sure they know that. If they do, they should already have been informed of that as well. Either way, make certain they know what steps they will have to take.

5. State the value of your health care coverage in dollars per person 5. State the value of your health care coverage in dollars per person

You can also include the total cost spent by your company or the cost per payroll, according to IFEBP, “but a worker will better appreciate and understand the value when positioned per individual rather than the organization’s perspective.”

6. Remind workers of the health care providers available through your plan 6. Remind workers of the health care providers available through your plan

Don’t forget the assistance your vendors and third-party administrators can provide in terms of education, either.

7. Talk about cost-sharing provisions 7. Talk about cost-sharing provisions

Inform and clarify workers on provisions such as deductibles, copayments and premiums, particularly if these have shifted in the past year.

8. Explain design changes that came from ACA 8. Explain design changes that came from ACA

Be sure to cover changes such as those surrounding preventive services coverage and the elimination of out-of-pocket maximums. If workers have heard about a given topic in the media, make sure they hear about it from you, too.

9. Emphasize your commitment to providing health care in the future 9. Emphasize your commitment to providing health care in the future

This could also be a good chance to talk about your wellness program (and any ACA-related changes to its structure or incentives), and how it can impact health spend.

10. State why you offer benefits in the first place 10. State why you offer benefits in the first place

Honesty is often the best policy. Do you provide health care to attract the best talent? To take care of a population you think of as family? Or to stay competitive? IFEBP recommends explaining to workers exactly what you offer and why you offer it.

HR professionals are dealing with both the usual crush of questions on open enrollment and a new onslaught of queries and concerns surrounding Obamacare and the health care marketplaces – even from those who have nothing to do with the public exchanges. By now, you have notified workers about the Affordable Care Act. You've made sure all your plans are compliant. Surely that’s all you have to communicate, right? Wrong. [Images: Shutterstock]

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