The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act) includes a provision that requires employers to notify new hires and existing employees of certain information related to the Health Insurance Marketplace (formerly referred to as the Exchange) and subsidy eligibility in the event an employer does not offer coverage that is affordable or that has a 60 percent minimum value. The original effective date of this requirement was March 1, 2013. As reported in the Jan. 28, 2013 Health Care Reform Update, the timing of this requirement was delayed until late summer or early fall of 2013 based on guidance issued in FAQ Part XI.
On May 8, 2013, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued Technical Release 2013-02. The technical release provides temporary guidance regarding the new notice that employers are required to provide to employees, called the Notice to Inform Employees of Coverage Options. The release also addresses changes to the Model COBRA Election Notice.
Notice to Inform Employees of Coverage Options
The temporary guidance states that employers who are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are required to provide the notice beginning Oct. 1, 2013 to new employees within 14 days of an employee’s start date. The notice must also be provided to all existing employees no later than Oct. 1, 2013.
This requirement applies to all employees regardless of their eligibility for or enrollment in the medical plan. It’s also required if the employer doesn’t offer a health plan. The guidance provides various alternatives for delivering the notice.
Model language that may be used to satisfy the notice requirement is also included in the guidance. Two versions are provided based on the availability of an employer-sponsored health plan.
- · For employers NOT offering a health plan: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/FLSAwithoutplans.pdf
- · For employers offering a health plan: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/FLSAwithplans.pdf
The temporary guidance will remain in effect until regulations or other guidance is issued.
The information contained in this article is for general use. Employers with questions regarding how to comply with the new notice requirement are urged to contact their legal counsel. The DOL provides guidance relating to the applicability of the FLSA, including an internet compliance assistance tool that is available at http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/scope/screen24.asp.
Model COBRA Election Notice
The technical release also addresses changes to the model COBRA election notice. The notice is being revised to help make individuals who are eligible for COBRA aware of other coverage options available in the Marketplace.
No date was specified for implementing the revised COBRA notice. Absent regulations or guidance to the contrary, plan to implement the changes by Oct. 1, 2013. This date coincides with the beginning of the Marketplace open enrollment period.
To view all notices click on the link below