“My broker’s got me covered.” The more companies we come in contact with, the more we hear this statement and the more we realize how much employers are relying on their broker to assure they are ready for the impacts and regulations of the ACA — all of them.

We are expected to bring timely information, interpret the law and its impact on our clients and assure they are prepared and compliant. Assuring benefits plan design and affordability that avoids penalties, distributing proper notices and creation of plan documents are just a few of the responsibilities that fall on the adviser.

Where do we draw the line, though, when it comes to technology, tracking and reporting? Ultimately, whose responsibility is that? Well, I say, adviser beware. If you are not fully engaged with your clients in having the discussions about what systems they have in place to track and report required employee and benefits data, you are vulnerable to both a change of BOR and a potential E&O claim.

Evolving role

In this highly regulated and highly technical environment that we live in, and especially due to ACA, more than ever the concept of a single database for HR and benefits data is more critical than ever. The role of benefit advisers also continues to quickly evolve into that of a technical consultant.  More than ever, we need to be knowledgeable of what functions are most critical in the technology our clients use, being it can also increase efficiency or just add a ton of administrative burden.

Quite frankly, many employers don’t know what they don’t know in regards to ACA, which may result in a rude awakening come January 2015, when employers must track critical data that they will have to report on a year from now. 

We, as advisers, must be aware of all of the moving parts required and the key role technology plays in assuring employers are best positioned to respond to the requirements of the law and IRS reporting in 2016. A fully integrated system will ensure easy access, ease of reporting, compliance with ACA and ultimately assist our clients so they can focus on their core business.

How have you stepped up to the plate as an adviser to assure that when your client says, “My broker’s got me covered,” they truly are?

Beattie is an EBA advisory board member and president and chief executive of South Miami, Fla.-based Selden Beattie Benefit Advisors. Reach her at (305) 661-9090 or bbeattie@seldenbeattie.com.

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