On May 8, 2013, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued TechnicalRelease 2013-02, which provides guidance for employers regarding the requirement to notify employees of coverage options available through Exchanges, also called Health Insurance Marketplaces. This notification must be provided to current employees by October 1, 2013.
This Model Notice to Employees of Coverage Options is available for employers to use today, if they wish. There are two model notice forms—both require the employer to enter specific information before distributing to employees:
- Model Notice for employers who offer a health plan
- Model Notice for employers who do not offer a health plan
Employers may use one of these forms or create their own, provided it meets the content requirements outlined in the Technical Release. The notice may be distributed to employees by first-class mail or electronically, if in accordance with the DOL regulations.
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 whether or not they offer health coverage today), must provide a notice of coverage options to each employee. All employees must receive the notice regardless of current health plan enrollment, or part-time or full-time employment status.
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 October 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 October 1, 2013. For 2014, the DOL will consider a notice to be provided at the time of hiring if it is done so within 14 days of an employee’s start date.
What must the notice include?
Should employers want to create their own notice, the Technical Release 2013-02 provides details on what must be included.
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