Employers have New Affordable Care Act Responsibilities Starting in October.

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On October 1, 2013 entities that are deemed employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act must provide all new and current employees with written notice of the health insurance coverage available on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges.  Notice must be given to all employees regardless of whether they are enrolled in the employer’s health plan or are full or part-time.

New employees must be given notice at the time of hiring, but in 2014 notice must be given within 14 days of hire.  Current employees must receive notice no later than October 1, 2013.  There are no requirements as to how notice must be given, except that the plan administrator must use a method reasonably calculated to ensure actual receipt of notice by participants and beneficiaries.

Generally, the notice must inform employees about the existence of the exchanges, explain how the employee may be eligible for subsidies or a tax credit, and include contact information for the exchange.  The Department of Labor has issued model notices for employers use.

Similar information must be included in COBRA notices.  The Department of Labor also issued a model COBRA notice which allowed qualified beneficiaries to consider health coverage on the exchanges.