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Business Litigation Alert: "Affordable Care Act Compliance"

Changing Policies and Avoiding Penalties

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is one of the biggest changes to ever hit the world of employee benefits. In order to avoid significant fines and penalties, employers must be up to date on the rules and regulations that now govern the scope of coverage they must provide employees.

With rules going into effect January 1, employers have little time left to ensure they are compliant with all aspects of the law. There are many complex changes, making it a daunting task to sort through all of the regulations and know what applies to your company and your employees. Also, changes have already been made to some of the rules – such as the recent one-year delay in federal exchanges for small businesses.

Taking some common sense steps now can help you to avoid costly fines and penalties later.

  • Stay informed. To quote an often-used phrase: “Knowledge is power." While it may be burdensome, it is very important to stay up-to-date on the developments surrounding the implementation of the ACA. For example, there are still some rules awaiting finalization by federal agencies. Those are expected by end of year and could help employers to decide whether to keep their current plans or offer subsidies so that employees can purchase private insurance. One information source to consider is the “Health Care Blog” at http://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform/blog
  • Educate your employees. Make sure your employees know their options and are fully informed of any changes to their plans. Here, again, knowledge will help create a greater level of comfort and help employees make informed decisions.
  • Continue to change. As existing rules are modified and new rules go into effect, make sure you continue to change and adapt your policies to comply with the most up-to-date regulations.

As with any large-scale regulatory change, the key to compliance is continually staying informed. The more you know, the better able you are to effectively update your policies and avoid penalties in the long run.

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