Health Care Reform Update: Employee Notice Requirements

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The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has issued long-awaited guidance on the health insurance exchange notice requirement that applies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Generally, PPACA requires employers to provide notice to employees regarding the existence of the health insurance exchange, the availability of coverage and premium assistance, and information regarding the potential forfeiture of employer contributions toward employer-offered health coverage, if an employee purchases coverage through the health insurance exchange.

The notice requirement applies to employers that are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act, even if the employer does not, or will not, offer health coverage. The notice must be issued to all full-time and part-time employees by October 1, 2013, regardless of whether the employee is currently enrolled in the employer’s health coverage. For employees hired on or after October 1, 2013, the notice must be provided within 14 days of the date of hire. The notice may be distributed electronically in accordance with the DOL’s safe harbor rules.

The guidance issued by the DOL includes two model notices which may be used to satisfy the notice requirements:

1. Notice for employers that do not offer health coverage
2. Notice for employers that offer health coverage to some or all employees

In addition, the guidance includes a new model COBRA election notice, which has been revised to include information related to the health insurance exchange.

If you have any questions regarding these notice requirements, please contact Sarah K. Ranni at (716) 504-5769 or
sranni@phillipslytle.com, or Colleen E. Lamarre at (716) 504-5746 or clamarre@phillipslytle.com.