Employers still face an October 1st deadline to
make sure all employees are given informational notices about the new health
benefit exchanges which are scheduled to be online the same day.
There are really two notices:
- The first is a form to be used by employers who
offer no benefits to their employees.
When specifics are provided by federal or state regulators (in Texas,
this will be federal regulators), employers who do not offer benefits simply
need to insert their information into the notices and mail them out to all
employees by October 1, 2013.
- The second notice is for employers who offer
some type of employee benefit plan.
These notices are intended to inform all employees of specific employer
eligibility parameters and whether the benefits offered meet the Minimum Value
Other information employers must know:
- All employers, regardless of company size, are required to provide notices.
- The notices must be provided to both full-time
and part-time employees.
- New employees must be provided the notice within
14 days of being hired.
- The notice must be provided in writing in a
manner that can be understood by the “average employee” (whatever the heck that
- It can be mailed or provided electronically, as
long as the requirements of the Department of Labor’s electronic disclosure
safe harbor at 29 CFR are followed.
(Just mail it so you don’t have to research what the heck 29 CFR is.)
You can get model notices at www.dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform.
This is just the start of the “surprises” that employers
will face under ObamaCare. That is what
happens when a 2,000+ page bill is combined with nearly 20,000 pages of
regulations, with more being added daily.
This form is pretty simple compared to others. It will still require time that should be
spent on making a profit, and many business owners will hire someone to help
with the notices.
One hidden fact: You won’t be fined if you don’t send the
notices. A FAQ on the U.S.
Department of Labor website says, “You should provide the notice, but there is
no fine or penalty under the law for failing to provide the notice.” See for yourself at (http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq-noticeofcoverageoptions.html).
Many attorneys are recommending that the notice be given,
since the media has publicized the employer obligation and employees will be
expecting it. Plus, they do say the
notice is required, and in the future, there may be penalties for not having
done so. I say, heck with it! Go out and make money. For now, the number of employers who will
fail to send in the notice will be so high that they will have to work with you
when they decide to enforce this requirement.
Either way, the choice is yours. Good luck!