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  Requirements of the Healthcare Reform Act for Employers

As part of the PPC Healthcare Reform Guide, we are providing guidance for the upcoming Notice of Availability of State Insurance Marketplaces. The required written notices must be provided to the employees by October 1, 2013. Employers must notify all employees (a) of the existence of an insurance marketplace, (b) that the employee may be eligible for premium assistance and a subsidy under the marketplace, and (c) that if the employee purchases a policy through the insurance marketplace, he or she may lose the employer contribution to any health benefits offered by the employer.

• October 1, 2013 (for employees employed before October 1, 2013).

• On date of hiring, for employees hired on or after October 1, 2013. However, for 2014, a notice provided within 14 days of an employee's start date will be considered provided at the time of hiring.

Employers (including those who do not offer health coverage to their employees) must distribute the appropriate notice to all employees (regardless of plan enrollment status or part-time or full-time status). For all employees who are employed before October 1, 2013, the notice must be provided by October 1, 2013. For employees hired after September 30, 2013, the notice must be provided at the time of hiring; however, for 2014, a notice provided within 14 days of an employee's start date will be considered provided at the time of hiring (EBSA Technical Release 2013-02). Informally, the Department of Labor (DOL) has indicated that for October-December 2013, new employees should receive the notice as soon as possible but no longer than 14 days after their start date. A separate notice does not need to be provided to employees' dependents or other individuals who are or may become eligible for coverage under the plan but who are not employees. The DOL issued two model notices in May 2013 that may be used for current and new employees. One model is for employers who offer employer-provided health insurance coverage to some or all of their employees and the other model is for employers who do not offer employer-provided health insurance coverage.

The model notices must be revised by employers to include identifying and contact information. In addition, employers who offer health insurance coverage must provide information on which employees are offered coverage, eligibility requirements, and a statement as to whether the coverage meets the minimum value standard and whether the cost of the coverage to the employee is intended to be affordable based on the employee's wages.

Most employers will be required to provide the notice because it applies to employers covered by the FLSA. In general, the FLSA applies to employers that have (a) one or more employees who are engaged in commerce and (b) gross annual sales of $500,000 or more. The FLSA is enforced by the Department of Labor (DOL), which has guidance relating to the applicability of the FLSA in general including a compliance assistance tool to determine applicability of the FLSA at www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/scope/screen24.asp.

 
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