Employers are picking up the pace on implementing the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act after a long delay, according to a new survey by accounting and consulting firm CliftonLarsonAllen.

CLA is also the fourth-largest auditor of employee benefit plans in the U.S. and audits more than 2,000 plans.

Fifty-seven percent of 861 employer representatives who attended a CLA informational webinar about health care reform in the days before the Nov. 6 presidential election said they were waiting for the election to fully address reform. Twenty-three percent of the attendees—who represented a wide variety of for-profit and nonprofit businesses and organizations—indicated they still needed assistance to make employee benefits decisions with regard to health care reform changes.

“Since the June Supreme Court decision upholding most PPACA provisions, many employers have been actively engaged in planning for reform,” said Anita Baker, CPA, managing partner of CLA’s employee benefit plan practice, in a statement. “So it was surprising to learn that only 8 percent of organizations represented at our program had implemented the provisions of reform to date.”

Baker said employers need to be aware of the additional fees that will be assessed on insurers and plan administrators of employer self-insured plans beginning in 2013. The costs and implementation vary widely among employers. The fees will increase the cost of providing group health plans for employees and include fees to fund research on patient-centered outcomes, transitional reinsurance fees, pay-or-play penalties (in some cases, the total cost of these penalties may be less than the total cost of providing coverage), and the 2018 “Cadillac tax.”

In addition to new fees, the government is putting into place additional health care reporting requirements for employers. “There will be an influx of guidance and regulations issued by the Department of Labor, the IRS, and the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure the provisions of the PPACA are implemented,” Baker said.

Employers should be aware of the fees and reporting requirements and work with their benefits consultants to determine the financial impact of health care reform on their organizations, the firm noted. CLA’s Health Insurance and Penalty Calculator provides information about the impact of reform on individual companies.

The webinar and presentation materials are available at no charge from the CLA Web site at 

http://www.cliftonlarsonallen.com/Employee-Benefit-Plans/Impact-of-Health-Reform-on-Employers-Webinar.aspx

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