Restaurateurs Get Help With ACA Notification

An online resource from the National Restaurant Association helped industry employers meet this week’s deadline to notify employees about the new healthcare exchanges. It could be a model for addressing other compliance issues, says NRA.

The federal budget deadline to avert a government shutdown wasn’t the only one looming on October 1. Tuesday was also the deadline for employers to provide written notification to their employees about the new health insurance marketplaces.

To help its members meet the deadline, the National Restaurant Association worked with a technology provider to build a notification tool.

“As we studied what was going to be taking place we felt that the best thing for us to do was get started with making sure we had a couple of components of what our members told us they needed,” said Phil Kafarakis, chief innovation and member advancement officer at NRA. “The notification tool guides an employer through the law’s required information process and creates a company-specific landing page that can be used to properly notify employees.”

The tool is part of a larger Healthcare Reform Headquarters on NRA’s website, which also houses educational information about the law and other tools for employers. It will eventually be the home of NRA’s marketplace, which will help restaurant employers and employees shop for ACA-compliant health plans.

More than 1,000 restaurateurs used the notification tool, thanks to an awareness campaign that got a boost from state restaurant associations. And though the notification deadline has passed, Kafarakis expects the wide adoption to continue.

“It’ll continue to be in this form,” he said. “The question, now that the deadline has passed, becomes liability. There are no hard-set penalties that are going to come flying down on employers, because we still don’t know a lot about the law. But there is going to be a component of compliance at some point in time, and the sooner that they get themselves set up and get their employees notified, the easier it will be moving forward.”

Other groups have reached out to NRA about how they might develop something similar or even borrow the technology.

“We’ve gotten some inquiries from other associations who are, frankly, trying to figure out what they’re going to do,” Kafarakis said. “We’ve had several groups ask if they can be part of this and if we could actually be the back end of the tool, and we would be delighted. I’m more than willing to have dialogue about how we can bring this solution to other groups in a way that’s unique to what they’re doing for their members.”

The technology behind the tool could be applied in the future to other issues that affect employers, like immigration reform, Kafarakis said.

“We see this as something we can bring to our membership down the road, and that we can modify for some other tracking or compliance mechanisms,” he said. “The most important thing about this is that it’s built, it’s running, and it’s functional.”


The National Restaurant Association's employee notification tool for healthcare exchanges.

Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!