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What Small Businesses Need to Do for Obamacare Before Oct 1st

September 09 - Posted at 2:01 PM Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The health insurance Marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will open on October 1st. Most small employers (those with 50 or fewer full-time employees) are not required to offer health insurance coverage under ACA. Businesses with more than 50 full time employees have gotten a one year reprieve from the “pay or play” penalties. But all companies, regardless of size, are required to notify their employees about the Obamacare Marketplaces by October 1st.

 

The state and federal insurance exchanges are websites on which individuals and small businesses can shop for health plans. Though the deadline is less than a month away, many small businesses  may not realize they have to notify employees of the existence of the Marketplace (aka Exchange). Many small business owners are unaware of this requirement or are under the misconception that it does not apply to them because they are too small to be governed by the health care reform law’s mandate. It is not clear how the requirement will be enforced yet, but penalties for businesses that do not comply could reach $100 per worker per day.

 

Some employers assume that because they are a small business who does not offer health insurance currently that the requirement does not apply to them. The Exchange notification requirement applies to any business regulated under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which covers all companies with at least one employee and $500,000 in annual revenue.

 

The U.S. Department of Labor has posted information about the notification requirement on its website and has provided model notices (in both English & Spanish) to be used by both employers who offer insurance and those who do not offer insurance.

 

The one to three page model notices can be downloaded, filled out, and printed, either for distribution in the workplace or for mailing to employees’ homes. Employees who are hired after October 1st must be provided  the notice within 14 days of their date of hire with the company. Employees must be provided the notice, regardless of their enrollment status in the group’s medical plan.  The safest route is to distribute the notice via U.S. mail or follow the instructions for distributing it electronically. Currently there is no requirement that states the employer must obtain signatures from employees confirming their receipt of the notice.

 

Please contact our office for more information on how to ensure you business is compliant with ACA requirements in 2014.

Model Exchange Notice for Employers Released By DOL

May 15 - Posted at 2:01 PM Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A provision of Health Care Reform requires employers to provide a notice to all employees regarding the availability of health coverage options through the state-based exchanges. The Department of Labor delayed the original requirement that the notice be distributed by March 1, 2013, as it was determined that there was not enough information regarding exchange availability.

 

 

The DOL recently issued temporary guidance along with a model notice. The DOL has issued the model notice early so employers can begin informing their employees now about the upcoming coverage options through the marketplace.

 

 

Two model notices were released by the DOL. One is for employers who currently offer medical coverage and the other is for those who do not offer medical coverage.

  

 

Employers are required to issue the exchange coverage notice no later than October 1, 2013. This will coincide with the beginning of the open enrollment period for the marketplace.

 

The notice must be provided to all employees, regardless of their enrollment on the group health plan. It must be provided to both full time and part time employees as well. Employers are not required to provide a separate notice to dependents. Employers will need to provide the notice to each new employee (regardless of their status) who are hired on or after October 1, 2013 within 14 days of their hire.

 

 

An exchange coverage notice must include –

 

  • information about the existence of the exchange, including a description of the services provided by the exchange and how to contact the exchange;

 

  • a statement that the employee may be eligible for subsidized exchange coverage (i.e., premium tax credit under Internal Revenue Code § 36B), if the employee obtains coverage through the exchange and the employer’s plan fails to meet a 60% minimum value; and

 

  • a statement that the employee may lose the employer contribution (if any) toward the cost of employer coverage (all or a portion of which may be excludable from income for Federal income tax purposes) if the employee obtains coverage through the exchange.

 

The DOL also modified its model COBRA election notice to include information about the availability of exchange coverage options and eliminate certain obsolete language in the earlier model.

 

 

Please contact our office for a copy of the model notice(s).

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