In May, we informed you of a letter that must be sent to all employees by October 1, whether or not you offer health insurance. This means that you have a deadline of October 1, 2013 to notify your emplyees, whether it be 2 or 200. This is to comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) guidelines that all employees be informed about the Marketplace/Exchanges. Failure to notify all employees in writing may result in up to a $100-per-day fine.
Beginning January 1, 2014, individuals and employees of small businesses will have access to affordable coverage through a new competitive private health insurance market – the Health Insurance Marketplace or Exchange. The Marketplace offers “one-stop shopping” to find and compare private health insurance options. Open enrollment for health insurance coverage through the Marketplace begins October 1, 2013.
- Employers must inform each employee (regardless of plan enrollment or full-time or part-time status) of the existence of the Marketplace (Exchange) at the time of hire (or with current employees, October 1, 2013). This includes a description of the services provided by the Marketplace, and the manner in which the employee may contact the Marketplace for assistance. You are not required to provide a separate notice to dependents or other individuals who are or may become eligible for coverage under the plan, but who are not employees.
- The notice must be in writing and include:
- Information regarding the existence of a new Marketplace as well as contact information and description of the services provided by the Marketplace.
- If the employer plan’s share of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under the plan is less than 60 percent of such costs, that the employee may be eligible for a premium tax credit under section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code if the employee purchases a qualified health plan through the Marketplace; and
- If the employee purchases a qualified health plan through the Marketplace, the employee may lose the employer contribution (if any) to any health benefits plan offered by the employer.
Model notices (sample letters) for employers who do not offer a health plan and for those who offer a health plan to some or all employees are available at: www.dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform.
Simply go to the section “Notice to Employees of Coverage Options” and click on the appropriate Model Notice. The COBRA Model Election form (which includes Marketplace information) is also available at this site.
HealthCare Reform is on our radar and we will continue to provide you with updates as new information becomes available. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 239-433-5554.