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Apr 29
2010

How to communicate health-care changes to employees

Posted by Smerd in healthcarehealth insurancehealth care reformhealth carecommunicationsbenefits

Smerd

The new health reform law will keep employer associations like the US Chamber of Commerce employed for a long time. While the Chamber vigorously opposed the legislation, the group is busy telling its members how to comply with the law.  

On Monday, the Chamber released a primer on the new law that includes an easy to follow breakdown of the issues now facing employers: how to weigh the cost of providing health insurance against the penalty of not providing it; if a company does provide insurance, should it fully insure or simply send employees to buy insurance on the state-run exchanges that will be established by 2014; and the benefits to your employees of the subsidies that are only available on the exchange.  

Likewise, the National Business Group on Health has also just released an "employer toolkit" to help employers "implement" and communicate the changes wrought by health reform. It's probably a useful tool and worth knowing about. Unfortunately, the resource is for members only. 

Some consultants are less proprietary. Jennifer Benz, president of HR communication firm Benz Communication in San Francisco, has posted boilerplate announcements for companies who want to communicate with employees how the new law will impact them.

Benz has also added a few new takes on reassuring employees that health reform doesn't mean the end of health care as we know it.

Benz writes that there is no shortage of resources on the Web for people who want to understand the law. Pulling them together and making sense of the big picture is the hard part and it's what employers need to do in order to help their employees understand how the changes will affect them (even - - or perhaps especially -- when the changes have no effect on them at all.) 

One tried and true destination for information about the impact of the new law is the Kaiser Family Foundation, which recently published this website dedicated to the new law.

The debate over reform has ended. The bill is now law. But implementation, as this chart from the Commonwealth Fund shows, may last forever (or at least a few years), no doubt spawning a cottage industry of experts looking to lead employers to regulatory safety. It's not that hard, though, to keep abreast of these changes and communicate them to employees. You just have to know where to look. 

 

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