Most employers are required to provide a written notice to employees about the new Health Insurance Marketplace (previously called “the Exchange”) by Oct. 1, 2013, as part of the Affordable Care Act.

If your business is subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), you are required to provide this notice to all existing employees regardless of whether you currently offer a health plan or not. The notice also must be provided to new employees at the time of hiring beginning Oct. 1. Your insurance carrier or third-party health plan administrator is not responsible for providing the notice to employees for you.

According to the Department of Labor, the notice can be provided by either mail, or electronically if electronic disclosure safe harbor requirements are met. The notice to inform employees of coverage options must include:

  • Information about the new Marketplace
  • Contact information and description of the services provided
  • Notice that employees may be eligible for a premium tax credit if they purchase a qualified health plan through the Marketplace
  • Notice that employees may lose the employer portion of their health benefits plan if they purchase a plan through the Marketplace, and that all or a portion of such contribution may be excludable from income for Federal income tax purposes

Employers can view sample notifications in both English and Spanish on the DOL website.

First delayed in March to the new Oct. 1 date, and in light of the recent postponement of key mandates of the ACA to 2015, the requirement could again be delayed. However, employers will want to keep the requirement on their radars and be prepared to send by the Oct. 1 deadline in case it remains intact.

For more information, read the DOL’s technical guidance, and contact Doeren Mayhew’s business tax consultants in Michigan, Houston or Ft. Lauderdale.