Employee Benefit Solutions: New Notice Requirements for the Health Insurance Marketplace

Published on Tue, 07/09/2013 - 16:36

As an employer, you have a host of new rules, regulations and guidelines coming at you with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And with the new health insurance marketplaces coming online in October, it could be a confusing time for your employees too. As these new health insurance exchanges go into operation, don’t neglect one of your most important roles: Being a valuable source of information for your employees.

One way to be a valuable resource is by informing your employees of the new Health Insurance Marketplace. In fact, it’s not only a good idea – it’s required. The Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced that all employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must distribute a Notice of Health Insurance Marketplace by October 1, 2013 to every full-time and part-time employee, whether or not they are currently enrolled or eligible to enroll in your group health plan, and whether or not you even offer a group plan.

Below are answers to some questions you may have about the new notices:

What do these notices look like and where do I find them?
The Department of Labor has given you a leg up by providing model notices on its website for you to use:

• Employers who offer a group health plan:  (http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/FLSAwithplans.pdf)
• Employers who do not offer a group health plan:  (http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/FLSAwithoutplans.pdf)

What does the notice have to include?
The DOL’s guidelines say that notices have to be written in a manner that can be understood by the average employee, and need to include the following:

• Information about the existence of the Marketplace
• A description of the services available through the Marketplace
• Contact information for getting help
• Notice that the employee could be eligible for a premium tax credit for coverage purchased through the Marketplace
• Notice that if the employee purchases coverage through the Marketplace, the employee may lose the employer contribution (if any) under the employer’s group health plan and the tax benefits of such contribution

When and how do I distribute these notices?
For all employees hired prior to October 1, 2013, you must provide the notice in writing no later than October 1, 2013. For all employees hired beginning October 1, 2013 and through 2014, a notice will be deemed to be given to the employees “upon hire,” as long as you provide it within 14 days of the employee’s start date.

Health care insurance changes could have a big impact on your business and your employees’ lives. Consider Heffernan Insurance your go-to source for employee benefit solutions. Our website contains many helpful resources including Health Care Reform Updates, Benefits Advisory Services, Group Insurance Coverage, Voluntary Benefit Plans and more.

Let us know how we can help you navigate health care change in 2013 and beyond.