This is a template for an employee announcement about health care reform. It includes an announcement of the new law, overview of the upcoming changes, and acknowledgement that much is still in flux. To use this template, you should review in detail and edit carefully to be consistent with your benefit plans, the tone of your employee communication and your benefits strategy. You may also want your health care consultants and attorneys to review all employee communication. Also please see our common sense caveat below.
Health Reform and Your Benefits
As you know, health care reform has become law, officially called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This law has significant implications for companies like ours who offer health care coverage to employees and families. Health care experts have reviewed the new law and identified areas requiring additional direction and the Department of Health and Human Services will be issuing more detailed guidance in the coming months.
While we’re waiting for additional guidance, our benefits team is busy examining the short and long-term requirements of the new law, and how this will impact the benefit programs we offer. [Insert references to outside help, if appropriate.] Our work is just beginning, and we expect to have details to you and your families later in the summer in preparation for open enrollment. [Note: set realistic time frames—your employees will hold you to it!]
In the meantime, we can share some of our initial thoughts:
- Health benefits will evolve over the next decade. Certain provisions of the new law will impact you as early as January 1, 2011. However, most of the major provisions will not take effect until 2014 or even later in 2018. While we will do our best not to overload you with details, you will need to pay more attention to health care benefits to keep up with the changes this summer and in the years to come.
- Prevention will continue to be a focus. We’ve been offering free preventive care since 20XX. With this new law, Congress agrees that all Americans should get recommended preventive tests and screenings. In the same spirit, Congress has given us new flexibility to reward you for healthy behaviors starting in 2014. [Edit as appropriate for your preventive care coverage and wellness programs.]
- More limits and exclusions are going away. We’ve always offered full-time employees and their families coverage on the first day of work—regardless of any pre-existing health issues. And, starting in 2011, you’ll begin to see other limits go away. [Edit as appropriate for waiting periods and existing limits.]
- Our benefits team has more reporting and administration responsibilities. The new law also has additional reporting and administration requirements for employers. Much will happen behind the scenes but you can be assured your benefits will comply with the new laws.
- [If you have communicated to a retiree population, extract key elements of any retiree communication here.]
As always, now and in the future, your benefits require you to be actively involved to get the most from our plans. While we continue to evaluate the legislation, please focus on what you can do today to get the most from your benefits. If you haven’t already, schedule your annual physical and make sure you and your family are getting the preventive care exams you need. Check out our wellness programs and other benefits like the employee assistance plan that can help you today. Make sure you’re enrolled in the 401(k) and contributing enough to get the company match. [Edit the above paragraph to focus on your under-used plans or your wellness objectives for the year.]
Again, we hope to have more details to you in the next X months. In the meantime, please send your questions to [insert email address] and for more information about your benefits, as always, see [insert list of resources, ideally, your benefits website.]
Common sense caveat: This template is from Benz Communications, an employee benefits communication consulting firm. We know benefits. We know what your employees care about. We know how to help you bridge the two. We are not attorneys and nothing in this constitutes legal advice or anything coming close to it. In addition, as we all know, the legislation and regulations are in flux. This information is accurate at the time it was published but you should consult the HHS website or other sources for the most up-to-date information at the time you communicate to employees.