The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), often referred to as “ObamaCare,” requires employers to inform their employees of health insurance options that are available under the new healthcare law. All employers that are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) must send notice to employees – regardless of whether or not the employer offers a healthcare plan.
The Notice Requirements
Employers were required to send written notice outlining health care options to all employees, including part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees by October 1, 2013. For employees hired after October 1, 2013, the employer must send notice to the employee so that is received within 14 days of the employee’s start date.
When providing notice to employees, the employer must be sure to inform the employee of the employee’s healthcare options in writing. Further, unless the employee receiving the notice regularly uses a computer as a part of the employee’s job, the notice should be mailed to the employee rather than delivered electronically.
The notice provided to employees must include the following information:
- a description of the “marketplace,” including services provided and contact information;
- an explanation of premium tax credit eligibility under the ACA for employees that purchase insurance through the marketplace; and
- the consequences of purchasing insurance through the marketplace, which may include losing any employer contribution toward coverage and having the employer’s contribution excluded from the employee’s income for federal income tax purposes.
The Department of Labor (“DOL”) provides example forms that employers can review for guidance. Employers cannot, however, simply send out these forms to employees. The DOL’s forms are intended to serve as a starting point and must be adapted so that the forms align with the employer’s health insurance plans.
For employers who do not offer a healthcare plan, visit the following link to view an example form:
The Takeaway for Employers
At the present time, there are no fines or penalties specified for noncompliance. However, providing notice to employees is a requirement under the FLSA. As such, employers who failed to send notice by the October 1, 2013 deadline should notify employees of their healthcare options as soon as possible.
If you are an employer and would like to ensure you are in compliance with the new notice requirements, please contact the employment law attorneys at Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A.
About the Author:
Attorney James C. MacGillis practices in the area of employment law, and regularly advises and represents businesses in employment and business disputes. Jim may be reached at 612.455.0503 or firstname.lastname@example.org.