McAfee & Taft’s Health Care Reform seminar draws larger-than-expected audiences

Hundreds of business owners, executives, benefits managers and human resources professionals gathered in Oklahoma City and Tulsa to attend McAfee & Taft’s seminar titled “Health Care Reform + Supreme Court Ruling = Now What?” In all, nearly 800 people registered for the two events, held at The Skirvin in downtown Oklahoma City on August 22nd and at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Tulsa on August 23rd, rivaling McAfee & Taft’s largest event, the annual EmployerLINC employment and employee benefits seminar.

“We knew this would be a hot topic for many employers, but this surpassed even our expectations, attracting a significant number of top-level executives and business owners,” said Richard Nix, employee benefits attorney and managing director of McAfee & Taft. “The Supreme Court’s landmark decision in June upholding the constitutionality of the Health Care Reform law caught a lot of people by surprise in light of the conventional wisdom by pundits, court-watchers and experts predicting an opposite result of varying degrees. Since that ruling, we’ve had so many employers calling us with questions about what it all means and looking for guidance that we decided we needed to put this seminar together.”

Presented by McAfee & Taft’s Employee Benefits Group and moderated by Nix, the two half-day seminars featured employee benefits attorneys Jim Prince, John Papahronis, Bill Freudenrich, Brandon Long and Alison Patel as presenters. The Oklahoma City seminar also featured special guest speaker Robyn Piper, founder and president of Piper Jordan and one of the leading national voices on employee benefits issues. The Tulsa seminar featured special guest speaker Todd Neaves, president of PremierSource and a leading consultant to employers for group health plans, retirement plans and risk management.

“This is a game-changer,” Nix told the attendees during the introduction. “This is one of the most, if not the most, complex pieces of legislation I’ve ever seen. And its impact has major, bottom-line implications for all employers. You will need a good, solid team working with you to help navigate the complexities of the provisions within this law as it applies to your organization.”

The presenters discussed the impact of the Health Care Reform law on employers going forward. They paid particular attention to the key provisions that will substantially impact employers sooner than later, including “pay or play,” health insurance exchanges, part-time employee issues, important flexible spending accounts changes, W-2 reporting, summary of benefits and coverage requirement, and the new fees and taxes. They also provided a timeline of essential deadlines and action steps necessary to maintain compliance in the coming year and beyond.

Employers were strongly encouraged to begin planning early, not only for the new requirements for 2013, but also for the more complex requirements coming in 2014 that will have substantial financial ramifications.

“Waiting is going to get you into a really tough situation,” said  Freudenrich. “You really need to start planning now. These will not be easy decisions and it will take some detailed analysis of your particular situation to determine what the best options are for your company.”

McAfee & Taft’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group ranks as one of the largest of its kind in the region. Ten of the most knowledgeable and experienced employee benefits lawyers in the state of Oklahoma form the core of the team, while additional McAfee & Taft corporate attorneys and litigators are available to lend their expertise to specific areas of employee benefits law.

McAfee and Taft is one of the nation’s 250 largest law firms as ranked by the National Law Journal and serves clients locally, nationally and internationally in the areas of aviation, business law, corporate and securities, employee benefits, entertainment law, environmental law, healthcare, intellectual property, labor and employment, litigation, oil and gas, real estate and tax and family wealth. The firm employs 350 Oklahomans, including 180 attorneys, and has offices in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa.