HighRoads, a provider of employer health care compliance and benefits management, announced that its full-service technology solution HR Compliance has been optimized to better serve SMB clients.
With HR Compliance, companies of any size can get assistance in navigating the complex regulations related to health care reform by leveraging technology to simplify and automate the creation and update of existing employer medical Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs). The SPD is the main vehicle for communicating plan rights to participants.
The company said HR Compliance streamlines the process for businesses to communicate health care reform-related plan changes to their employees. If these changes, which are communicated via SPDs, are not distributed to employees by the first day of the first plan year starting Sept. 23, 2010, penalties will be issued, HighRoads warned.
HighRoads also noted President Obama recently increased Department of Labor funding to strengthen enforcement of labor standards, including workplace safety and benefit security, thus putting more staffing power behind enforcement of SPD compliance and other regulations.
HR Compliance aims to make the process simpler and faster through the use of its legally validated compliant templates, which embed the new reform language and requirements into SPDs or a Summary Material Modification for quicker employee communication. Customers will also receive e-mail alerts whenever the DOL regulations and language change.
The process begins with a comprehensive inventory assessment, identifying the current state for each SPD and performing a gap analysis toward full compliance. Following the discovery process, HighRoads reviews existing content and customizes a new SPD template to automate new content development so that it can be properly propagated throughout each applicable SPD document.
Should the DOL investigate an employee complaint or lawsuit and the SPD is missing or inadequate, the employer could be liable for legal fees and denied benefits. If one or more participants ask for an SPD and don't receive it within 30 days, the DOL may assess penalties of $110 a day for each of those participants.
"Companies in the small to mid-sized range face a unique set of challenges in complying with the health care reform regulations. They have limited staffing and resources and thus technology-in data benchmarking and benefit management tools-is critical to their being able to achieve compliance in a cost-effective, timely manner," said Brittney Wells, a consultant for employee benefits at Longfellow Benefits, an insurance brokerage and consulting firm. Longfellow Benefits specializes in brokerage services in New England for employers with 50 to 1,000 employees.