Enrolling employees for the 2014 company health plan will put plan managers to a test like they’ve never seen before. Those that haven’t already immersed themselves in the details are going to be working some very late nights in the next couple of weeks.
John Haslinger, vice president for strategic advisory services at ADP, helped BenefitsPro.com compile a list of the essentials that must be executed in order to comply with the law and avoid sanctions.
1. Notice of coverage or exchange notification: It’s up to employers to notify every employee, covered by a company health plan or not, of the health care options available to them through the insurance exchanges created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This notification must be in an employee’s hands no later than Oct. 1. Employers hired after Oct. 1 have to be notified within 14 days.
Suggestion: If you haven’t started this process, hire a third-party administrator with knowledge of the process to do it for you.
4. Defining and counting your eligible full-time employees: The PPACA has redefined full-time employees for purposes of healthcare coverage. Now, employers must offer coverage to anyone who works an average of 30 hours a week. Calculating the 30 hours can be tricky, so you need to know the details. For instance, hours an employee is paid to work aren’t the only ones you count. You need to include the hours you pay someone not to work, such as vacation time, and hours of unpaid leave, such as jury duty. Having a good fix on who your eligible employees will be come Jan. 1 is critical to meeting the requirements of the law. To provide good data to the feds when they ask for it in 2015, employers will have to start tracking hours beginning this Oct. 1.
7. Reasonable accommodations: Some employees, for various reasons, cannot meet the requirements established by wellness programs, so there must be options available for them built into the system.