With the federal Affordable Care Act in place and millions of American having the ability to sign up for healthcare, businesses are required to inform their employees of this change as well. One company developed software to help facilitate this process for current and future employees.
COBRA Solutions, Inc., a leader in employee benefits software, developed the ‘Marketplace Notice Manager’ software package to ensure employer compliance with any and all mandatory notice requirements of the ACA.
“Our country’s health care system is changing and employers are struggling to implement systems to comply with the new mandates that are a key part of health care reform,” said Scott Beaver, president of COBRA Solutions. “The new Marketplace Notice Manager software program will give our customers a system to keep their company in federal compliance.”
Two new notices are required by the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) as amended by the ACA; one for employers ‘who offer employer-sponsored coverage’ and one for ‘employers who do not.’ As part of the ACA, individuals will be able to purchase health coverage through state or federally facilitated Health Insurance Marketplaces. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Technical Release 2012-13, individuals will be able to enroll for coverage through the Marketplace starting today, with the initial coverage beginning effective Jan. 1, 2014.
All active employees, including full-time and part-time, must have received notice before Oct. 1, regardless if the employee is enrolled in an employer-sponsored group health plan or not. This software can help facilitate any employees hired after Oct. 1 and must receive the notice within 14 days of their start time.
Designed to streamline the mandatory requirement notice for businesses, Marketplace Notice Manager stores employee’s health coverage information in a database. “Once data is entered or imported the system will automatically mail merge this information into the Department of Labor-approved Marketplace Notice,” Beaver said. “Once printed, the system saves a digital copy to prove compliance.”
Beaver explained the number of employees will dictate the time needed to prepare notices – the greater number of employees, the more time involved. The Marketplace Notice Manager utilizes a Microsoft Excel template which is familiar and easy for employers to gather the information. Most of this data may be obtained through a payroll system or Human Resources Information System (HRIS). Once gathered and imported notices can be produced immediately.”
“Smaller organizations probably do not have the sophisticated HRIS software to track employees, so the Marketplace Notice Manager would provide them with the ability to create, track and retain notices to remain in compliance with the Affordable Care Act,” Beaver stated. “As future employee notices are required, COBRA Solutions will provide the option for users to add the new notice to the system. Larger organizations may, or may not, have the capability to produce the notices directly out of their existing HRIS software.”
As changes occur in the healthcare system, the COBRA Solution’s software will be flexible enough to easily add or change notices. “The government is known for creating numerous forms and COBRA Solutions anticipates additional notice requirements for employers,” Beaver said. “Every evening, the Marketplace Notice Manager software performs a search to see if new notices or updates to the software exist and downloads them if necessary.”
Beaver estimates that only 10 percent of mandated employers know of their responsibility to send the Marketplace Notice. Businesses are required to send the notice by today. Those that do not will be at risk of government fines for non-compliance, the longer they wait, the greater the fine.
“With years of COBRA Administration experience, COBRA Solutions has found that employers must document everything and have the ability to prove notices have been sent,” Beaver said. “The IRS has stated they are hiring up to 19,000 agents to assist in verifying compliance with ACA. The Marketplace Notice Manager will make proving compliance quick and easy. Employers could think of it as a $189 insurance policy.”
For more information about COBRA Solutions, Inc., go to http://www.cobrasolutions.com/
Watch how the Marketplace Notice Manager works here.