Navigating health reform
All Employers Must Provide Health Insurance Exchange Notice
Despite some delays in implementation, a major piece of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) still requires all employers — regardless of whether or not they offer health care coverage — to provide their current employees with a health insurance exchange notice no later than October 1, 2013. The notice must inform employees of the existence of the exchange, the services offered, and contact information, allowing them to make informed decisions about health insurance.
“With the recent announcement that parts of the PPACA are being delayed, many employers think they are absolved of any requirements under the law until 2015, and that is just not true,” says Nicole Fallon, a manager in CLA’s health care group. “Notifying employees of these new health care marketplace coverage options is one requirement all employers still must do before October 1.” Fallon adds, “If you’re required to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act, you’re required to issue this notice to all of your employees.”
The purpose of the notification is to inform employees about the new health insurance exchanges and subsidies that will be available to individuals effective January 1, 2014, and to provide information about the employer’s current offerings to employees.
The open enrollment period for the state and federal health insurance exchanges begins on October 1, 2013. The new exchanges will offer a place for individuals and small business to compare and select coverage options via an online marketplace.
The notice must be given to all employees, regardless of plan enrollment status, or of part-time or full-time status, but does not need to be issued to dependents or other related individuals who are, or may become eligible, for coverage under this plan. For employees hired after October 1, 2013, the notice must be provided upon hire (which the U.S. Department of Labor has indicated means within two weeks of their start date).
The United States Department of Labor has provided model notices for employers offering insurance coverage to employees, as well as for those not offering coverage. Below are the links to the model notices that employers can use to comply:
- Model notice for employers that offer coverage to some or all of their employees
- Model notice for employers who do not offer a health plan
Both notices are also available in a Microsoft Word format and can be found on the Department of Labor website.