Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Employers Must Provide ACA Notifications By October 1

By Jamie Kent Hamelburg

If you’re an employer, you may be required by the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”) to notify your employees by October 1, 2013, about the new Health Insurance Marketplace established under the ACA.  The new notification requirement applies to you if you are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act, meaning that you employ one or more employees who are engaged in, or produce goods for, interstate commerce with generally over $500,000 in annual business. Additionally, the Fair Labor Standards Act applies, no matter the amount of business, to institutions primarily engaged in the care of the sick, the aged, mentally ill, or disabled who reside on the premises; schools for children who are mentally or physically disabled or gifted; preschools, elementary and secondary schools, and institutions of higher education; and federal, state and local government agencies. 

The notice should inform employees:

·         about the Health Insurance Marketplace;
·         that, depending on their income and what coverage may be offered by the employer, they may be able to get lower cost private insurance in the Marketplace; and
·         that if they buy insurance through the Marketplace, they may lose the employer contribution (if any) to their health benefits.

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued two model notices to help employers comply.  One model applies to employers who do not offer a health plan, and the other applies to employers who do offer a plan. The models are at:

If you are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act, you should provide the notice to all of your current employees by October 1, 2013, and to all new employees hired after that date. For assistance as to your responsibilities to send out the written notices, consult with your Human Resources adviser, employee benefits professional, or attorney. A Department of Labor Bulletin titled Technical Release No. 2013-2 also provides helpful information.

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