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Health care: Plenty of questions, lots of opportunities for CPAs

Open enrollment in new health insurance exchanges -- part of President Obama's sweeping Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- is less than two months away, and there are as many questions as answers floating around out there.

The big news lately is the president's decision to delay Obamacare's employer mandate, which requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to pay stiff penalties if they do not provide health coverage to the workers. Originally scheduled to take effect in 2014, the mandate has now been delayed a year, to 2015.

The generally accepted reasons for the delay: The government needs more time to simplify reporting requirements, and employers just aren't ready to comply.

The employer mandate aside, though, there's still plenty to learn before open enrollment begins on Oct. 1 -- and CPAs are right in the thick of it.

"This is a great opportunity for CPAs to partner with their clients, to communicate with and assist their clients (with the law's provisions)," Sandra Krauer, director of client risk management services for Richard J. Princinsky and Associates, told me in a recent phone interview.

RJP & Associates is the MACPA's longstanding exclusive preferred provider of employee benefits. As such, they provide all MACPA members and their clients with an array of valuable information and resources regarding health care and human resources.

How complex is the new health care law? The MACPA just recently began promoting a special health care town hall meeting featuring Krauer, RJP and Associates President Rick Princinsky, and MACPA Executive Director Tom Hood. Scheduled for 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 27 at the Doubletree Hotel in Columbia, the event sold out quickly and registrations are no longer being accepted.

Take heart, though: The meeting will be recorded and offered as a webcast from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 19. Get details and register here.

In the meantime, here are a few resources that might provide a few answers:

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