5 Ways CIOs Need to Prepare for Obamacare

For most large businesses, the upcoming enrollment period for Obamacare is no small matter. The legislation, officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, has been on executives' radar for years, and its merits and drawbacks have been debated almost ad nauseum in the press, in Congress and even the United States Supreme Court.

Experts, though, say the enrollment period, which starts on Oct. 1 and runs through next spring, still presents employers with a few technical challenges. To that end, CIO.com talked insurance experts, IT gurus and attorneys to find the best ways to prepare for this sea change in healthcare. Here are five things business should be doing to prepare for healthcare reform.

1. Create an Internal Health Insurance Enrollment Portal

Americans without health insurance are encouraged to use health insurance exchanges to "shop" for plans that offer the coverage that best fits their needs. Subsidies are available for those who qualify. Those who remain uninsured at the end of 2014 face financial penalties.

Some companies, in an effort to reduce healthcare costs, are dropping employer-based plans and sending employees to the insurance exchanges instead. Even large companies that plan to continue offering employer-based health plans will likely need to create their own open enrollment sites, though.

Jeffrey Ungvary, president of Strategic Wellness & Insurance Management Services, says the exchanges for each state, such as MNsure in Minnesota, will pave the way. Employees will become accustomed to browsing through list of insurance providers and seeing pricing plans. Large companies should be prepared to offer similar, internals portal for choosing among health plans.

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