Model Notice Available for Employers to Share with Employees on Exchanges
May 22, 2013
On May 8, 2013, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued Technical Release 2013-02 which provides temporary guidance for employers regarding the requirement to notify employees of coverage options available through Exchanges, also called Health Insurance Marketplaces.
This Model Notice to Employees of Coverage Options is available for employers to use today if they wish. Employers must provide notice to current employees by Oct. 1, 2013.
There are two model notices. Both forms require the employer to enter specific information before distributing to employees.
Employers may use one of these models or create their own provided it meets the content requirements outlined in the Technical Release. The notice may be provided to employees by first-class mail or electronically if in accordance with the DOL regulations.
Providing notice of coverage options is an employer obligation. The Technical Release shares details about this obligation for employers. Employers may want to use the Minimum Value Calculator posted by The Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight to determine if their plan meets the minimum value requirements.
Who must receive the notice?
The Technical Release states that employers that are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), regardless of size, funding type or if they offer health coverage today or not, must provide a notice of coverage options to each employee. Employees must receive the notice whether or not they are enrolled in a health plan today or if they are part-time or full-time.
Employers are not required to provide a separate notice to dependents or other individuals who are or may become eligible for coverage under the plan but who are not employees.
When must employers issue the notice?
Current employees must receive the notice before Oct. 1, 2013. The notice is required to be provided automatically, free of charge. Employers are required to provide the notice to each new employee at the time of hiring beginning Oct. 1, 2013. For 2014, the DOL will consider a notice to be provided at the time of hiring if the notice is provided within 14 days of an employee's start date.
What must the notice include?
The Technical Release 2013-02 provides details on what the notice must include should employers want to create their own.
In January, the DOL delayed the deadline for employers to notify employees of the availability of Exchanges from March 1, 2013, to late summer or early fall of 2013. The DOL issued this temporary guidance and model notice in advance of the expected timeframe because it received several requests from employers for a model notice on an earlier timeframe. Employers are not required to use this temporary guidance and may wait until final guidance is issued later this year.