Employers: October 1 Deadline for Obamacare Notices

The Affordable Care Act (Health Care Reform) requires employers to provide notice to employees regarding the availability of health insurance coverage through a Health Insurance Marketplace (commonly referred to as the “Exchange”). The notice must be provided by October 1 2013 and a model notice is available at the Department of Labor website.

EMPLOYERS SUBJECT TO NOTICE REQUIREMENTS

All employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must notify their employees of the availability of the Exchange. In general employers subject to the FLSA include those that: (1) have one or more employees; (2) are engaged in interstate commerce; and (3) have at least $500000 annual dollar volume.

THE EXCHANGE

The Exchange is designed to help the user evaluate and purchase health insurance. Open enrollment through the Exchange begins in October 2013 for coverage commencing as early as January 1 2014 for individuals and some small businesses. The Exchange will eventually be expanded to other employers. In Washington State the Exchange is called Washington Healthplanfinder or Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

WHO MUST RECEIVE NOTICE

Employers are required to provide the notice of the availability of Exchanges to each part-time and full –time employee regardless of whether the employee is enrolled in a plan. Notice must be provided to employees only not dependents.

WHEN MUST NOTICE BE PROVIDED

Employers must provide the notice to existing employees no later than October 1 2013. The timing is designed to coincide with the beginning of open enrollment for the Exchange. New employees hired on or after October 1 2013 must be provided the notice within 14 days of the start date. The notice may be provided by mail or electronically if it meets certain federal requirements. See 29 CFR 2520.104b-1(c).

For more information including model notices see the Department of Labor website.