Affordable Care Act Requires Employers To Provide Health Insurance Exchange Notices By October 1, 2013

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Last month, the Obama Administration made the decision to delay penalties under the Employer Shared Responsibility Mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) until 2015. However, it did not delay an employer's obligation to notify employees of healthcare coverage options available in state or federally-administered healthcare exchanges. Such notification must take place no later than October 1, 2013. The ACA requires nearly all employers to provide a notice to all current employees (regardless of full-time or part-time status). The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued two model notices: one model notice for employers that provide health coverage and one model notice for employers that do not provide health coverage to any employees. New employees hired between October 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013 must receive the notice on their hire date, while new hires in 2014 may be provided the notice within 14 days of their hire date. Notices are not required to be provided to non-employees (e.g., dependents, independent contractors, etc.). Notices may be sent by first-class mail or electronically, provided that the DOL’s electronic disclosure safe harbor rules are met. Spanish language versions of the first and second model notices referenced above are also available.