The Affordable care Act’s exchange notice requirements for employers are not an option. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to require employers of all sizes to provide their employees a notice of the availability of coverage through public health insurance exchanges. The original deadline was in March of 2013, but the U.S. Department of Labor, the agency charged with administering the FLSA, announced a delay in the effective date of the notice to October of 2013.
In an article about Technical Release No. 2013-02 by the Labor Department, the National Law Review explains the details about the FLSA exchange notice requirement. The effective date is now October 1, 2013 for current employees or within 14 days of an employee’s start date for new employees. Although enforcement of such requirements have been limited, Total HR Management believes that all employers should make sure to provide the following information to their employees immediately.
The FLSA exchange notice about PPACA must include the following:
- Be in written form in a manner calculated to be understood by the average employee
- It must meet basic requirements of accessibility and readability
- A description of the existence of, and services provided by the new public exchanges
- An explanation of how the employee may be eligible for a premium tax credit or a cost-sharing reduction if the employer’s plan does not meet certain requirements
- Inform employees that if they purchase a qualified health plan through the exchanges, then they may lose any employer contribution toward the cost of employer-provided coverage
- Inform employees that all or a portion of the employer contribution to employer-provided coverage may be excludable for federal income tax purposes
- Include contact information for customer service resources within the local exchange, and an explanation of appeal rights
The Department has provided two model notices — one for employers who offer a health plan to some or all employees and another for employers who do not. The model notice for employers who offer a health plan includes two parts. Part A (entitled “General Information”) tracks the requirement of the statute. Part B (entitled, “Information About Health Coverage Offered by Your Employer”) solicits information about the employer’s group health plan coverage.
Part B includes an optional section that asks the employer to disclose whether the health care coverage offered meets the minimum value standard and whether the cost of coverage is intended to be affordable. While not required, employers may decide to complete this part of the notice in order to avoid having to respond to inquiries from exchanges seeking to process an individual’s application. Total HR Management provides our clients with such notices so they don’t have to worry about any of these bureaucratic requirements.
ACA Exchange Notice Requirements
The Affordable Care Act does not appear to impose any separate penalty for ignoring this exchange notice requirements at this time. The FLSA authorizes administrative actions, civil suits and criminal prosecutions for violations of pre-existing FLSA sections. Total HR Management believes that noncompliance is not a good idea for any business or even a viable option. A lack of penalties does not translate into a lack of consequences. When it comes to dealing with federal requirements, it is better to be safe now than to be penalized later.
If you have any questions about PPACA exchange notice requirements, please contact Total HR Management for help by calling (800) 975-5128 or emailing our human resources outsourcing experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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