Employer Notice Requirements under ObamaCare – Deadline Approaches
Last month, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a technical release providing guidance and model forms to assist employers in fulfilling their one-time notice requirement obligations under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) to notify employees of their options under the new Health Insurance Marketplaces (exchanges) to choose and obtain private health insurance and possible eligibility for subsidized coverage that will open January 1, 2014.
Notification to current employees is required by October 1, 2013 and to all new hires within 14 days of their date of hire, starting on October 1, 2013.
Even though the obligation to provide qualifying health coverage to employees or pay a penalty primarily applies only to “large employers” (employ an average of 50 or more full-time employees/full-time employee equivalents), this notification requirement is imposed on any employer that employs at least one employee and has at least $500,000 in annual dollar volume.
Two forms of model notices were provided. One is for use by employers that do not offer a health plan, and the other is for use by employers that offer a health plan to some or all employees.
The Model Notice for employers who OFFER a health plan to some or all employees is here.
The Model Notice for employers who do NOT offer a health plan is here.
The Department of Labor also issued a revised model COBRA Notice regarding the statutory obligation to allow an employee continuation of health insurance coverage following termination of employment or other loss of coverage, updated to include information about the new Marketplaces, so that individuals who lose regular group health plan coverage and are eligible for COBRA coverage will also be aware of their ability to buy coverage in the Marketplace (and possibly be eligible for a tax credit) in place of electing COBRA coverage. The revised Notice also deletes the provisions relating to pre-existing condition exclusions which will no longer be permitted beginning January 1, 2014.
The COBRA Model election notice is here.
Although the model notices are helpful and they will fulfill your obligation, employees could find them confusing and are likely to have additional questions and concerns. For assistance with the notices and all other employee benefits questions, please be in touch, contact details below.
Louis Barr chairs the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Practice at Schwell Wimpfheimer & Associates. Louis advises public, private and tax-exempt entities with respect to the full range of issues in establishing and operating employee benefit programs (including qualified and non-qualified deferred compensation plans, welfare benefit arrangements, severance agreements and equity compensation incentive plans) and counsels fiduciaries with regard to the investment and management of plan assets. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646 328 0783.
This SWA publication is intended for informational purposes and should not be regarded as legal advice. For more information about the issues included in this publication, please contact Louis Barr. The invitation to contact is not to be construed as a solicitation for legal work. Any new attorney/client relationship will be confirmed in writing.