Health Care News 9/3/2013

As   open enrollment for health insurance exchanges grows nearer, employers face a   deadline to notify employees about the availability of these new marketplaces.   Let’s look at who is subject to the requirements, the deadline for   notification and other important   details. Background The Affordable Care Act   (ACA) requires employers to provide their employees with a written notice   about exchanges to help explain some of the benefits and potential   consequences associated with purchasing through an exchange. The Department   of Labor has provided guidance indicating that employers must issue these   notices as of October 1, 2013. What employers are   subject to the requirement? The Employer Notice requirements define   “employer” very broadly. Anyone who is classified as an “employer” under the   Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is subject to the employer notice   requirements.  Because the standard is so broad, employers should assume   they must provide employees with the Employer Notice unless they have reason   to believe they are exempt from the FLSA .  Additional information on the   applicability of the FLSA , including an internet compliance assistance tool ,   can be found here. What must be   included in the notice? Model notice forms have  been   prepared for employers and are available on the Department of Labor’s website   and can be found below.
Model Notice   For Employers That Offer Coverage Model Notice   For Employers That Do Not Offer Coverage

The website   provides a model notice form for employers who do not offer a health plan and   another model notice form for employers who offer a health plan to some or all   employees. These forms do not exceed three-pages in   length. Employers may use one of the models, as applicable,   or  can choose to use a modified version of their own, so long as the   modified version meets the content requirements discussed   below. Under the Department of Labor’s guidance, Employer   Notices must:

  • Identify     the existence of the new exchanges, provide a description of services     provided by an exchange and specify exchange contact     information;
  • Explain     that the employee may be eligible for a premium tax credit if the employee     purchases a qualified health plan through the exchange; and
  • Inform     the employee that if he purchases a qualified health plan through the     exchange, he may lose the employer contribution (if applicable) to insurance     provided by the employer.

The   employer only needs provide to basic information in the open fields in Part A   (Page 1) and B (Pages 2-3).
What employees must receive the   notice? Employers must provide the Employer Notice to all   employees, including part-time employees, regardless of whether the employee   enrolls in insurance offered by the employer. Further, the Employer Notice   must be provided regardless of whether the employer offers   insurance. Upon receiving the form, an employee can review the   information provided by his employer and use it as a reference as they weigh   the option to purchase coverage within the exchange   marketplace.