With just 3 weeks left, it’s important for all employers to remember that even small businesses must comply with Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace notice requirement. Small employers have the additional responsibility to distribute notice to employees about health insurance coverage that may be available through Health Insurance Marketplace even if they have less than 50 employees and are not required to provide insurance under the act. Many businesses may not even be aware of this mandate, especially those that are not providing insurance.
With the recent employer mandate delay, some businesses might be overlooking this important requirement. Since open enrollment for participation in the Marketplace begins in October 2013, the notices are an important way for employees to be aware of and learn more about the Marketplace.
Generally, the requirement says that every employer that is subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must provide the notice about coverage options. If your business is subject to the FLSA, you have to give the notice of coverage options to existing employees by Oct. 1, and to all new hires within 14 days. The notice must be provided automatically, free of charge, and written in language that the average employee can understand. Keep in mind It’s up to employers to notify every employee, by Oct. 1. regardless of whether the employee is full-time, part-time, eligible, enrolled, or ineligible for coverage under the employer sponsored health plan.
The Marketplace Notices have various requirements of what content must be included to be sure employees are informed of certain things.
Fortunately, employers don’t have to create the notices on their own. The Department of Labor (DOL) published model notices, one for Employers Who Offer Health Plans, and one for Employers that Do Not Offer Health Plans. If employers need assistance with the forms, be sure to contact a competent adviser to provide guidance. Most importantly, employers need to be reminded that they need to be sent. Just because employers are not required to provide insurance, or have been given a year to wait on the coverage mandate, they must still comply with the notice requirement.
The U.S. Department of Labor, after much speculation about a fine of $100 per day for noncompliance, is now advising businesses they will not be fined if they fail to notify their workers of their health insurance options by Oct. 1.
“If your company is covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, it should provide a written notice to its employees about the Health Insurance Marketplace by October 1, 2013, but there is no fine or penalty under the law for failing to provide the notice.”