Most employers are still required to notify employees of the health insurance exchange and their rights before October 1, 2013, despite the White House extension of other deadlines.
Even though the White House postponed the Affordable Care Act (commonly called "Obama Care") mandate for employer-provided health insurance, it did not extend the approaching October 1st deadline for employers to provide employees with notice of the health insurance exchanges. The White House also did not delay the new notice requirements for qualified COBRA beneficiaries that are mandated by the Affordable Care Act.
As an employer, it is important that you are aware of, and comply with these new federal requirements. Below are general answers to some questions pertinent to employers. Every employer's situation is unique, and the law may apply differently to your specific circumstances.
The affordable care act is complex, and does not apply uniformly to every business. To comply with the affordable care act, you should consult with an attorney. This notice is not legal advice.
Do you need to provide notice?
Even if you are not required to provide insurance to your employees, you are probably subject to the notice requirement. This is because the notice requirement applies to all employers subject to the federal Fair Labor Standard Act ("FLSA"). The FLSA is quite broad, and includes the following:
The United States Department of Labor has provided an internet assistance tool to help employers determine whether they are subject to the FLSA and the insurance exchange notice requirement. This tool is located at http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/scope/screen24.asp.
To determine whether you are subject to the flsa and notice requirement, and to answer other questions regarding the Affordable Care Act, you should meet with an attorney for specific consulations.
Whom do you have to notify?
The notice requirement applies to all employees regardless of whether they are part-time or full-time status. The notice requirement also applies whether or not the employee is eligible to participate in an employer group health plan.
What information do you have to include in the notice?
The notice to employees must include the following information:
The Department of Labor has provided model notices for employers to use to comply with the notice requirement. Employers can use one of these models, or a modified version so long as the notice contains the requisite information.
When do you have to deliver the notice?
Are you required to deliver the notice in a specific way?
The Department of Labor requires that the notice be provided in one of the following ways:
You should consult with an attorney to ensure the notice is delivered properly.
How do you prove you gave the notice?
Planning ahead to develop records that conclusively establish notice was properly provided is essential to ensuring you do not face penalties after having complied with the federal notice requirements. Unfortunately, the new law does not provide employers with a mechanism to prove they timely provided all employees with the requisite notice. Lukins & Annis, P.S., can help you develop a system that will appropriately record when and what notice was given, so that, if necessary, you can prove to the Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service that you complied with these new notice requirements.
What are the new COBRA notice requirements?
The Affordable Care Act requires employers to modify their current COBRA election notices. The Department of Labor published a new model COBRA election notice that incorporates the coverage options that eligible beneficiaries will have available to them through an exchange.
The Department of Labor has stated that the model notice, when appropriately completed, will be considered good faith compliance with COBRA notice requirements.
The new model COBRA notice may be found on the DOL's Affordable Care Act Website at:
The firm recommends you consult with Lukins & Annis, P.S., or another well-qualified legal professional to ensure you comply with the Affordable Care Act.