NEW YORK — A critical date is approaching for small business owners: Starting Oct. 1, they must make decisions about employee health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. All companies have obligations under the ACA, no matter how many workers they have or whether they plan to provide insurance. Three things to do now:
Get up to speed. Online resources include the federal government’s ACA website, http://business.usa.gov/healthcare, and the Small Business Administration’s, www.sba.gov/healthcare . State websites should be up by Tuesday. Keep up with changes that may continue into next year.
Get help. The ACA is complex and has spawned thousands of pages of regulations. Owners should get help from a professional, whether it’s an insurance broker, benefits consultant or an attorney who specializes in health care law.
Communicate with workers. By Oct. 1, all employers must give each worker what’s called a Notice to Employees of Coverage Options. Find a model notice here: www.dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform . Owners who plan to cover employees also must give them a Summary of Benefits Coverage by the policy start date.