Affordable Care Act requires Employers to Notify Employees of Coverage Options by October 1st, 2013

Mandatory Employer ACA NotificationHHS Testimony

The Department of Labor will enforce employer notifications of coverage options for current and newly hired employees beginning in October. The secretary delegated this provision of the Affordable Care Act to the Department of Labor to enforce. Many employers found relief in the delay of the Employer Mandate, but employer notices must still be executed by October 1st.  In most circumstances, employers may email notifications to employees.  Here is what you need to know:

Who needs to provide the ACA notification requirement?

The requirement will generally be applicable to all employers that employ one or more employees that produce $500,000 annually.

Who must receive the ACA notification and when?

All new employees must begin receiving the notification by October 1st, 2013. Beginning in 2014, each new employee must receive the notification within 14 days of hire. Current employees hired prior to October 1st, 2013 must receive the notification free of charge by October 1st, 2013. The notice must be received by writing and required to be understood by the average employee.

What satisfies the ACA notification requirement?

Examples for content of the notification of employee coverage options needed to satisfy the requirement must is located on the DOL website http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform/index.html

There are two models. There is one for employers that do not provide health insurance to their employees. There is another for employers that offer health insurance to one or more employees. Employers may modify the content, but must use one of the 2 notifications.

The notification, which can be an email notification, must inform the employee of the existence on a new Marketplace where they can enroll for new coverage options. Employers must provide the contact information of the Marketplace and explain that employees may be eligible for premium tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. Employees must also be informed that purchasing products through insurance exchanges may eliminate employer contribution if employers are providing them for insurance premiums offered.

Why do employers need to provide ACA notification?

The employer mandate has been delayed until 2015, but the notification requirement must be delivered by October 1st, 2013 for very specific reasons. Employers are going to provide free advertising for the Administration to drive enrollment in the insurance exchanges. Without large enrollment numbers, the exchanges will be in jeopardy. The notifications will also provide the government with all employer health benefit information provided. Some provisions of the Affordable Care Act have been delayed, but many will unfold over the coming months. Stay abreast of employer requirements.