By Oct. 1, 2013, employers must notify current employees of the health coverage options available to them in the new Health Insurance Marketplace (Exchanges) pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Affordable Care Act” or “ACA”).

According to ISSA's Bill Balek, this notification requirement applies to ALL employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which in effect are those companies that are “…engaged in interstate commerce with annual revenue of $500,000 or more.” Examples of employers who are involved in interstate commerce include those who: produce goods that will be sent out of state; regularly make telephone sales calls to companies located in other States; and provide janitorial services in buildings where goods are produced for shipment outside the State.

ACA requires employers to notify in writing (this may be done either by first-class mail or electronically) all employees (both full time and part time) of their health coverage options. This mandatory reporting requirement applies to employers whether or not the employer offers health coverage to some/all employees, and extends to all employees whether or not the employee participates in the employer’s health plan (if applicable).

Current employees must be notified by October 1, 2013; new employees must be notified on the date of hire (for 2014, new employees must be notified within 14 days of their start date).

The Department of Labor issued Technical Release 2013-02 to provide employers with temporary guidance and model notices that may be used to comply with the employer’s reporting obligation. To view the model notices:
    •    Employers that do not offer health coverage to any employees, click here.
    •    Employers that offer health coverage to employees, click here.

Please note that the notices required by the Affordable Care Act must provide employees with the following information:
    •    The existence of, services provided by, and how to contact the Exchange for assistance;
    •    That the employee may be eligible for a premium tax credit for the purchase of a qualified health plan through the Exchange; and
    •    That the employee’s purchase of a qualified health plan through the Exchange may cause the employee to lose the employer contribution (if any) to any employer-sponsored health benefits plan and have certain implications for the employee’s tax obligations.