The Affordable Care Act doesn’t go into full force until January 2014, so you have plenty of time to get your company’s health insurance plans in order, right? Wrong, say health-care experts. Regardless of whether you already offer health insurance, or you plan to do so starting in 2014, there are several steps you need to take now to prepare for life under the Affordable Care Act, which is commonly called Obamacare.

Open enrollment, both for private health plans and for the new insurance marketplaces established by the law, starts Oct. 1. That’s sooner than you may think, given the complexities of the law, says Meredith Olafson, senior policy advisor in the Small Business Administration’s office of entrepreneurial development. “Every business owner is going to be impacted differently,” Olafson says. “They need to know the facts and information to plan for what’s ahead.”

Here are five important ways to ready yourself for health reform:

1. Brace for rising costs. Several major insurance carriers have warned that premiums will rise by more than 20 percent next year, and Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told Wall Street analysts that premiums may even double for some small businesses.

In addition to preparing for that price boost, you need to understand what your company’s requirements will be for contributing to your plan. For example, the law says that to be deemed “affordable,” an employee’s out-of-pocket costs cannot total more than 9.5 percent of his or her income. Some companies used to be able to hold down healthcare costs by offering high-deductible plans, which shifted more of the out-of-pocket burden to employees. But under the law, “high” will likely be capped at deductibles of $2,000 a year for individuals and $4,000 for families.