With the Affordable Care Act ("ACA") being implemented in phases, which began in June 2010 and shall continue through January 2019, employers need to know how to make educated decisions regarding whether the new healthcare reform ultimately produces affordable healthcare options.

The easiest year for compliance and management under ACA will be 2013 because it largely achieves compliance through taxation.

The first step is to ensure that the payroll department coordinates with an employer's payroll provider.

Secondly, a company would be wise to create an employee communication explaining how the ACA will impact employees' take-home pay, as well as the employer's cost of doing business. In 2013, employers can anticipate the following: (1) Flexible Spending Account contributions are capped at $2500, resulting in a higher payroll withholding obligation on employers, (2) Per capita fees will increase to $2 per month, for each of the employees covered under a company's medical plan, and (3) Loss of tax-deductibility of the Medicare Part D subsidy.

Also this year, employers must advise employees of the existence of State Exchanges and premium assistance availability. If the Exchange becomes a more affordable option for employees, and they withdraw from the Employer Group Plan in favor of an Exchange, the Employer could face penalty taxes. This could lead to a one payer system where healthcare is limited to government-provided healthcare.