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It's Now or Never: What Employers Need to Do Now to Comply with the New Healthcare Laws

12/03/2010

It has been eight months since the historic Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) was passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama. PPACA revises and expands the manner in which health care plans are provided by employers and how health insurance issuers may offer group health plans to employers. Spanning nearly 1,000 pages, the new law is more than a bit overwhelming to consider. Worse still, employers were not given much time to learn the law’s requirements, as many of its provisions go into effect for plan years commencing on or after September 23, 2010 (e.g., January 1, 2011, for calendar year plans) and require employers with group health plans (including self-insured plans) to make decisions and take certain actions for plan years commencing after that date.

To cover all of what is required of an employer might take as many pages as the new law itself and would not necessarily offer insight for those faced with the challenge of making critical decisions about group health plans. This article distills this massive beast down to the essential components of the legislation and offers practical guidance regarding what employers must do now to comply with the early mandates of the new law – that is: (1) decide whether to “grandfather” their current group health plan; and (2) send out certain notices to plan participants.