Virtually all employers, regardless of size, are required to provide each staff member with a Notice explaining the availability of Public Health Exchanges by no later than October 1, 2013 (whether or not you offer Group Health Insurance Coverage) and then provide new employees with the applicable Notice within 14 business days of their employment (see the Model Notices archived on our website) on an on-going basis.
Obamacare is the law of the land and we must do what we have to in order to implement it within our respective organizations.
It is abundantly clear that people just don’t get it. “It” being their health care benefits, health care costs, and health care reform. Most everyone has questions, misunderstandings, and a sense of being overwhelmed about health care (somewhat fueled by the implementation delays of certain provisions and regularly changing “rules”). At a minimum, this confusion will create more work for HR and can negatively affect how employees perceive their benefit offerings and result in them making poor benefit decisions that cost them — and their employers — time and money. To preempt the added confusion that is sure to result from the Administration’s consumer marketing and state-led exchange information, employers need to start communicating about health care reform and the exchanges proactively.
Here are some suggestions for you to consider:
- Focus on what matters in 2014: Don’t overwhelm employees with what happens four years from now or provide random “what if” scenarios;
- Plan on-going communications: Don’t think that a single communication piece will fix everything. Use multiple communication channels and make sure you are giving your staff multiple ways to interact with the information;
- Do the work to make this simple(r) for your employees: This is complicated, confusing, and full of nuance. You need to be the source of clear, simple, unbiased information.
Explain that the exchanges are marketplaces where people can easily buy health insurance. Direct employees to www.healthcare.gov for additional information. Explain the government subsidies and what makes someone eligible or in the case of most employees ineligible for a subsidy.
Give clear direction to employees about what they need to do in order to make an informed decision. This direction and guidance really depends on the individual employer’s employee population, demographics, and benefit strategy.
RGL Consultants would welcome the opportunity to assist in your communications effort would welcome the opportunity to assist in your communications effort.