Study Shows Many Employers Unprepared for Affordable Care Act Changes
HighRoads, the leading health care compliance and benefits management organization, has released its findings from its annual survey which polls U.S. companies about current and future processes and communications plans addressing health care compliance. Findings showed that 81 percent of companies plan to update their Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs) to maintain compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but many continue to struggle with implementing the processes required to make the SPD changes.
Over 60 percent of polled companies were not aware of their average spending per participant. Over 50 percent of respondents reported that they are unprepared to distribute Summaries of Benefits and Coverages by the late March deadline. Employers continue to use electronic distribution of the material in order to cut costs, with 81 percent of respondents reporting that they use either email, intranet/internal posting, or CDs as the delivery method.
Companies surveyed represented about 2.2 million plan participants and were asked about time-sensitive communications such as plan and ACA information and the processes used to produce and distribute SPDs. Thomas Barker, former General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services commented, “The ACA places an increased focus on the importance of accurate, timely and easy to read communication documents. All employers both large and small need to build in protective processes to assure that they are ready to comply with new and changing requirements as the policies for ACA continue to become available.”