Affordable Care Act Deadline: Employee Notices of the Health Insurance Marketplace (Exchange) Due by October 1, 2013
On May 8, 2013, the Employee Benefits Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued Technical Release No. 2013-02 (Release) providing important guidance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (“Affordable Care Act”), with regard to the requirement that employers provide notices to their employees of the existence of the Health Insurance Marketplace (Marketplace), previously referred to as the “Exchange.” These employee notices must be provided to existing employees no later than October 1, 2013. This deadline is intended to correspond to the open enrollment period for the Marketplace commencing October 1, 2013, for coverage through the Marketplace beginning January 1, 2014. The Release includes temporary guidance and two model employee notices of the Marketplace upon which employers may rely. Additionally, the Release provides an updated model election notice for group health plans for purposes of the continuation coverage provisions under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) to include information of the health coverage options offered to individuals through the Marketplace for comparative purposes.
Employee Notice of the Marketplace. The Affordable Care Act amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to require employers to issue to employees a notice of the health coverage options available under the Marketplace. The FLSA requirement was supposed to have been satisfied on or before March 1, 2013; however, given the regulatory delays in establishing and approving the Marketplace, the DOL extended the deadline. The guidance under the Release is temporary through the applicability date of October 1, 2013, but may be relied upon until future guidance and regulations are issued.