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Developing New Tools to Take on New Challenges

Stephen J. Caldeira, CFE, International Franchise Association President & CEO

Stephen J. Caldeira, CFE, International Franchise Association President & CEO

On Oct. 1, two of the first firm deadlines of the Affordable Care Act came to pass. On that date, state Health Insurance Marketplaces, also known as Exchanges, began an open enrollment period for individual coverage plans beginning Jan.1, 2014. Also on that date, in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers were required to notify their new and current employees of the existence of these marketplaces, and of the coverage options available to them under the law. Oct. 1 marks the beginning of what is sure to be a long and complicated process of complying with the Affordable Care Act.
Recognizing the challenges franchise small-business owners face in educating their employees about the law, IFA has worked over the past several months to identify key pieces of information that workers need to know, and explore the best ways to convey this information to them. The result of this work has been the development of Take Care, a new and very important pamphlet produced by IFA and designed to allow employers a turnkey way to educate their workers. While the pamphlet is not a substitute for the lawfully required FLSA notice, it is a way for employers to make their workers aware of their obligations and options as this complex new law takes effect.

Take Care answers the most common questions franchise employees have about the Affordable Care Act. The information packet breaks down options for obtaining coverage and addresses concerns like affordability, staying on a parent’s plan and what happens if someone chooses not to purchase coverage. Each question and answer is followed by a link to more information at Healthcare.gov, along with a QR code for quick scanning. Take Care is available in both English and Spanish on the IFA health care website, www.MakingSenseOfHealthCare.org, and I encourage all IFA members to download and distribute it to their franchisees, employees, business partners, stakeholders and colleagues.

The Take Care pamphlet is an example of how IFA’s team constantly strives to better serve our members and protect franchising. While the specific needs of our members may evolve with the changing public policy environment and with the fluctuations of the economy, our commitment to producing high-quality resources, conferences and educational programs remains unchanged. And with your help, we can begin developing new programs to support franchising in neutralizing additional threats to the industry.

As we collectively rise to the challenge of Affordable Care Act compliance, I hope you all will continue to utilize IFA staff and resources, and let us know how we can improve our services to you. Your feedback is essential to highlight your biggest concerns and help us shape new programs to ensure the prosperity of franchising well into the future.

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