Recently, 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 currently available for employers to use today. It's important to realize that employers must provide notice to active employees by October 1, 2013.
There are two model notices. Each form requires the employer to enter specific information before distributing it to their employees.
Employers may use one of these models or they can 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 should receive the Exchange-specific notices?
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 is the notice due to be issued?
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 specifics must be included in the notice?
The Technical Release 2013-02 provides details on what the notice must include should employers want to create their own. (See model notices above.)