I've written in past columns that a secret to selling is creating fear in a sales presentation. It's a powerful closing tactic. This column is about pushing the fear buttons as you sell and renew business for January 1.

Your sales and renewal efforts for this January will naturally include Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act compliance items. Employers still thirst for knowledge on health reform, so study up and deliver the goods by pushing the fear motivators. This is a winning formula for selling many buyers.

Here are your selling points. Learn them. Present them clearly and win new business. Don't let your competitor beat you to the punch.

Health FSA deferral limits. Some employers still are fuzzy on the specifics of the new flexible spending account rule. Annual contributions to health flexible spending accounts will be limited to $2,500 effective January 1.

If your group has a flexible spending account option, you have huge opportunities for giving educational materials detailing this new limit and another requirement that comes along with this rule. Over-the-counter drugs can still be run through an FSA, but the plan participant will need a doctor's prescription to get the lower copay from your PBM.

Administrative simplification rules. Group health plans must comply with "administrative simplification rules for electronic exchange health information and electronic fund transfers."

This provision contains the requirement that the plan sponsor also file a certification with the federal government verifying that the health plans are fully compliant with this rule.

Penalties for failing to comply with the administrative simplification rules for electronic exchange information, electronic fund transfers and the reporting requirement of plan compliance carry fines. Those penalties for non-compliance are:

* The fine is $1 per covered life, per day, up to a maximum of $20 per covered life, per year. A double penalty applies if the employer misrepresents any facts. The compliance and penalties apply to grandfathered plans. The systems for bringing this requirement to life must be ready to go on Jan. 1, 2013.

* Employers must certify their compliance with these rules and notify the DOL beginning on Dec. 31, 2013.

Rise in the Medicare payroll tax. The Medicare tax rate for employees' payroll will rise 0.9% for wages and earnings over $200,000 - $250,000 for married couples filing jointly.

In addition, high-income households will be subject to a new 3.8% Medicare tax on investment income starting in 2013. Employers must collect the employees' share of the tax and remit to the Internal Revenue Service. This additional tax law does not, however, increase the employer's share of the payroll tax, effective for tax years beginning Jan. 1, 2013.

Employee notification of state insurance exchanges. Plan sponsors must notify their employees of the forthcoming state insurance exchanges, which are slated to go into effect in 2014. Your employer needs to inform employees with a forthcoming DOL model notice effective March 1, 2013, or such later date set forth in future DOL guidance.

Get out and sell - and be careful out there.

Davidson, CEBS, is founder of websites futureoffice network.com, mysalesrockstar.com and the MedAnalyzer Suite of health care analytics. Reach him at craigd@davidsonmarketing.com.

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