Because regulations change over time, employers should frequently review their health care plans to ensure they comply with current rulings. You’ll especially want to equip yourself with essential information on ACA plans to get ready for the transition when your pre-ACA plan expires.

Failing to transition to ACA-compliant plans does not only affect your employees, but it also involves an increased tax penalty. In addition, establishing an updated health plan will improve your chances of recruiting the best employees to your workplace; a recent survey indicates that 83 percent of employees consider health care benefits an important factor that influences their decision to accept a job. Because of all this, the initiative to transition to an ACA plan shouldn’t be taken lightly.

To prepare yourself, you’ll want to look into a few essential areas before disseminating information to your employees:

  1. Choose the right plan. When researching options, choose a plan that works best for your employee demographics. You’ll want to focus on choosing a pool of providers that meets the needs of as much of your workforce as possible. You’ll find plenty of ACA-compliant options from reputable carriers that include minimum essential coverage.
  2. Decide on a budget. Set your budget for group coverage and consider how much your employees can spend on their health plan. At the same time, look at the four levels of coverage based on their actuarial value: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each value reflects the percentage of expected health care costs a health plan will cover. Choose a metal category that not only meets your company’s budget, but also provides better cost sharing in exchange for higher premiums.
  3. Look into limits on deductibles. The ACA established limits on deductibles for health insurance plans at $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families, which may affect the actuarial value of your health plan. If you are offering high-deductible or HSA plans, you may want to choose a metal category that reflects a higher percentage of covered health care expenses. However, keep in mind that this requirement was taken away for small-group plans.
  4. Choose when to begin coverage. After deciding on your health care budget and plan, you should start thinking about when to begin coverage. Would it be better to start when the financial year begins, or before or after?
  5. Decide on enrollment options. You can choose to enroll your employees automatically in a suitable health plan, or let them enroll themselves. If you choose the latter, you must be clear about plan choices, coverage levels and costs, as well as the deadline for enrollment. Ensure that your provider helps provide material that explains the key details.

Every employee has the right to know about their health insurance plan well in advance, especially when you’re making key changes to comply with the ACA. Some of your employees may have no idea about health care reform, so it makes sense to find out what they want to know about ACA plans. The most reliable method of gauging this is through a survey or departmental meeting. Once you’ve found out what the knowledge gaps are and put all the necessary information together, you’ll be ready to communicate effectively to your employees across multiple mediums.

This content is provided solely for informational purposes. It is not intended as and does not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein should not be relied upon or used as a substitute for consultation with legal, accounting, tax and/or other professional advisers.

Emmie Sahlan has a graduate degree in English and has been writing professionally for the past five years. Her niche areas are insurance, credit cards, personal finance and education.