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Dottie Perry
Dottie Perry
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October 1 Deadline: Notice of Coverage under the Affordable Care Act Due Today

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Individuals and employees of small businesses will have access to the private health insurance market created by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) as of January 1, 2014. Employers are required to give all employees notice of coverage options by today, October 1, 2013. Employees hired after 10/1/13 must receive notice of coverage options within 14 days of their start-date.

All employers governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) are required to provide this notice of coverage options. This is required regardless of whether their employees are already enrolled in or have access to any employer-sponsored health plans, and regardless of the employees’ full or part-time status.

The Department of Labor (“DOL”) has created model notices for employers that do provide employee insurance coverage, and those that do not. Notice must be delivered via first-class mail or electronically if that method meets the DOL’s electronic safe harbor statute, or if the employee consents to electronic delivery.

The content of the notice must include basic information about the Exchange or marketplace of insurance coverage available, a description of the services available, contact information for the Exchange, notice of whether the employee will lose their employer contribution to their employer-provided coverage buy using the Exchange, and the tax implications of using the Exchange.

Employers who fail to provide notice are not necessarily exposed to government action, and won’t be fined or taxed for their failure, but they do expose themselves to civil liability to employees who may be damaged by the employer’s failure to provide notice.

The impending government shut-down will likely have no affect on this requirement, and some believe it will have no affect on the funding of the ACA, either.

1 Comment

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  1. Small Business Owner says:
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    As an attorney, surely you are aware that MAY and MUST have two completely different meanings. In this case, you state “Notice must be delivered via first-class mail” which, according to the DOL Technical Release 2013-02, is COMPLETELY INCORRECT.


    D. Timing and Delivery of Notice
    Employers are required to provide the notice to each new employee at the time of hiring beginning October 1, 2013. For 2014, the Department 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.
    With respect to employees who are current employees before October 1, 2013, employers are required to provide the notice not later than October 1, 2013. The notice is required to be provided automatically, free of charge.
    The notice must be provided in writing in a manner calculated to be understood by the average employee. It may be provided by first-class mail. Alternatively, it may be provided electronically if the requirements of the Department of Labor’s electronic disclosure safe harbor at 29 CFR 2520.104b-1(c) are met.