As the September 23 date came and went, plan administrators should be in full compliance mode, making sure they are sending notices, finalizing plan changes and coming up to speed on health care reform packages. I also think it is a good idea for plan sponsors to keep up to date on what is being communicated to the participant population at large, not just from your own communications, but from the government.
Healthcare.gov is the website created and updated by the US Department of Health and Human Services that is being used to provide information to the public in general. Cynics can call it propaganda, but I think it is worthwhile for plan sponsors and administrators to check it out to see what the government is saying about health care reform.
A particularly interesting tool is the “Find Insurance Option” that allows individuals to search for insurance coverage in the states they reside. There is also a tab called “Understand the New Law” that provides an explanation of the current and anticipated changes. It also provides a link to the HHS site for comparing of medical providers under the “Compare Care Quality” tab.
While we will continue to provide information about legislative updates and other formal information that is released, I thought it was important for you to know what non-regulatory communications are being sent out. Being well informed will help avoid miscommunication.
by Keith R. McMurdy