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National Restaurant Association - Health Care Watch: Politics and Court rulings aside, restaurateurs need a plan

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Health Care Watch: Politics and Court rulings aside, restaurateurs need a plan

This is one in a series of blog posts on the health care law and the restaurant industry. The articles are written by Michelle Reinke Neblett, the National Restaurant Association's director of labor and workforce policy.

For the past two years, the health care law has been surrounded by questions and uncertainty and that has not changed. In fact, just last week, many National Restaurant Association members traveled to Capitol Hill during the annual Public Affairs Conference to tell legislators of their confusion and concern regarding the law.

Even though the Supreme Court will soon rule on the law and the Presidential election has slowed critical regulatory decisions, it seems many important rules associated with the law won't be issued until after the election.

But that doesn't mean restaurateurs shouldn't be thinking ahead.  As entrepreneurs, you plan for unknowns constantly.  Now is the time to analyze and prepare for the various employer requirements if the law is upheld by the Court.  Industry leaders suggest that you consider the following:

• Analyze and understand the demographics of your workforce and how they may apply to employer requirements in the law. Consider how your decisions will affect your employees.

• Examine your current health care offerings and understand the plan design changes that could affect your product offering and cost. What you do today can alter your choices tomorrow.

• Consider your communication with employees about benefit changes and why you are providing new information (i.e., W-2 benefit value). Employers of all sizes are required to be the employees' information resource, especially regarding health care exchanges. 

• Look to 2014 employer reporting requirements - employers must report plan design information and which employees were offered coverage, to their employees, agencies and possibly exchanges. Consider changes needed to your current processes to comply and the time needed to put them in place.

• For larger organizations, are key departments (legal, tax, human resources, compliance, IT, etc.) discussing compliance and planning together? 

The National Restaurant Association is committed to your understanding of the law's requirements and its effect on your business. To understand the basics, visit the NRA's Health Care Knowledge Center.  If you're interested in the regulations, visit our Health Care Policy page.  We'll continue to keep you informed about current health care implementation issues.

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