(This post was authored by Heather Harrison, an associate in the Labor & Employment practice at Farrell Fritz)
Although key provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been delayed until 2015, one important notice requirement is just around the corner. By October 1, 2013, virtually all employers must provide written notice to their employees about the federal and state Health Insurance Marketplaces (commonly referred to as the “exchanges”). Open enrollment for the exchanges begins on October 1, 2013.
The notice must provide the following information:
- an explanation of the Marketplaces;
- a reference to www.healthcare.gov for employees to find information about the programs available to them;
- information about premium subsidies that may be available to employees if they purchase a qualified health insurance plan through a Marketplace; and
- notification that employees may lose their employer contribution to the health plan if it is obtained through a Marketplace.
The notice must be given to all employees, regardless of status (e.g., eligibility for employer-sponsored health insurance, part-time, full-time, exempt or non-exempt). For employees hired after October 1, 2013, employers must provide the notice within two weeks of their start date.
Employers must distribute the notice in a manner designed to actually reach each individual employee. This can include direct in-hand distribution to employees (e.g., attached to employee paychecks), first class mail, or electronic delivery (if certain requirements are met).
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has published model notices, which are available for download.