This post was authored by Heather DeBlanc
On May 8, 2013, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance setting an October 1, 2013 deadline for employers to provide notice of the exchange (now called the Health Insurance Marketplace) to all employees. The notice to employees must:
- Inform employees of the existence of the Marketplace, including a description of the services provided by the Marketplace, and the manner in which employees may contact the Marketplace to request assistance;
- Inform employees that if the employer plan’s share of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under the plan is less than 60 percent of such costs, they may be eligible for a premium tax credit under section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code if the employee purchases a qualified health plan through the Marketplace; and
- Inform employees that if they purchase a qualified health plan through the Marketplace, they may lose the employer contribution (if any) to any health benefits plan offered by the employer and that all or a portion of such contribution may be excludable from income for Federal income tax purposes.
Who Must Provide Notice?
The requirement applies to all employers who are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act. See www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/scope/screen24.asp. Unlike the Affordable Care Act’s shared responsibility provision, this notice requirement is not limited to large employers who employed an average of 50 or more full-time employees during the previous calendar year.
When Must Employer Provide Notice?
An employer must provide the Notice to current employees before October 1, 2013. Beginning October 1, 2013, the employer must provide this Notice to new employees at the time of hiring (i.e. within 14 days of an employee’s start date).
Is A Model Notice Available?
Yes. The DOL also released three model notices (1) one for employers who offer a health plan to some or all employees, (2) one for employers who do not offer a health plan, and (3) a COBRA model election notice. The model notices are available on the DOL’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act web page at the following link: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform/index.html.
Where Can An Employer Find Additional Information?
The DOL updated its web page with information on the notice to employees of coverage options. Employers may find further information at the following link: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/newsroom/tr13-02.html.