Thursday, August 29, 2013

Resources for understanding the Affordable Care Act

As the ACA continues to unfold, the full complexity of the law and its impacts can seem daunting. This sense of being overwhelmed can be as true for insurance producers and benefits providers as it is for small business owners.

There are, fortunately, a host of information resources available online. The Michigan Business and Professional Association offers its Small Business Health Care Reform Guide and Employer Checklist: What the Affordable Care Act Means for Michigan Small Businesses through the Health Reform Connect(TM) section of its website. The Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce hosts MI Health Answers, and the Department of Financial and Insurance Services offers the Health Insurance Consumer Assistance Program.

In addition to these, webinars are available as well. The Small Business Administration and Small Business Majority conduct the free Affordable Care Act 101 webinar series on a weekly basis.  In this series, SBA reps go through the key pieces of the law, focusing on concerns of small business owners.

For a "big picture" overview that focuses on state policy initiatives, the National Academy for State Health Policy conducts webinars on an ongoing basis. Of particular interest as we approach the October 1st roll-out for exchanges is All Hands on Deck: State Plans for Consumer Assistance. This webinar, offered on September 11th from 1:30 to 3:00 pm EDT, will highlight the key features of consumer assistance strategies being employed by exchanges.

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