Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Notice Deadline Under Healthcare Reform Act Fast Approaching

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Under the Health Care Reform Act, employers are required to provide employees with Notice of Availability of State Insurance Marketplaces on or before October 1, 2013.  This deadline is fast approaching.

Employers are required to notify all employees that: (a) a State Insurance Marketplace exists, (b) the employee may be eligible for premium assistance and a subsidy, and (c) if the employee purchases a policy through the Insurance Marketplace, he or she may lose the employer contribution to any health benefits offered by the employer.

Employers (including those who do not offer health coverage to their employees) must distribute the appropriate notice to all employees (regardless of plan enrollment status or part-time or full-time status).  For all employees who are employed before October 1, 2013, the notice must be provided by October 1, 2013.  For employees hired after September 30, 2013, the notice must be provided at the time of hiring.  However, for 2014, a notice provided within 14 days of an employee's start date will be considered timely.  The Department of Labor (DOL) has indicated that for October-December 2013, new employees should receive the notice as soon as possible but no longer than 14 days after their start date.  A separate notice does not need to be provided to employees' dependents or other individuals who are or may become eligible for coverage under the plan but who are not employees.

The DOL issued two model notices in May 2013 that may be used for current and new employees. One model is for employers who offer employer-provided health insurance coverage to some or all of their employees and the other model is for employers who do not offer employer-provided health insurance coverage.  The model notices must be revised by employers to include identifying and contact information. In addition, employers who offer health insurance coverage must provide information on which employees are offered coverage, eligibility requirements, and a statement as to whether the coverage meets the minimum value standard and whether the cost of the coverage to the employee is intended to be affordable based on the employee's wages.

Most employers will be required to provide the notice because it applies to employers covered by the FLSA. In general, the FLSA applies to employers that have (a) one or more employees who are engaged in commerce and (b) gross annual sales of $500,000 or more. The FLSA is enforced by the Department of Labor (DOL).

If you have a question about whether you need to provide this Notice, or if you need assistance preparing the Notice please contact Matt Stokely or one of our business or employment attorneys at 937-223-1130, Jsenney@pselaw.com or Mstokely@pselaw.com.

AND ONE MORE THING.  In a prior blog we discussed how IRS was treating same-sex couples for federal income tax purposes.  The Department of Labor (DOL)'s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has now announced that it is following the IRS’s lead in recognizing “spouses” and “marriages” based on the validity of the marriage in the state of celebration, rather than based on the married couple's state of domicile.  If you have any questions on this please contact me at 937-223-1130 or Jsenney@pselaw.com.

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