Affordable Care Act requires Employer Notice to Employees of the New Health Insurance Marketplace by October 1, 2013

On October 1, 2013, all employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (generally, businesses that have at least one employee and at least $500,000 in annual dollar volume business) must provide written notice informing all employees about the health insurance exchanges and employees’ potential eligibility for premium tax credits, if the employer’s share of costs is less than sixty percent of the allowed total cost of benefits.  Separate notice is not required to be given by employers to the employees’ dependents or spouses that are or may become eligible for coverage under the plan.

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a form notice for employers to use.  There are two model notices.  One notice is for employers who offer insurance and the other form is to be used by employers that do not offer health insurance.

You may obtain a copy of the form notice at

www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/FLSAwithplans.pdf or www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/FLSAwithoutplans.pdf

The health insurance exchange is an online marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can compare different health insurance plans and purchase health insurance coverage.   A small business for purposes of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) is defined as an employer that has fewer than fifty (50) full-time or “full-time equivalent” (FTE) employees. http://www.irs.gov/irb/2011-21_IRB/ar07.html#d0e150.

Small businesses are not required to offer health insurance to their employees.  If, however, a small business would like to offer health insurance for their employees, the business may purchase it through the Small Business Health Options Program (“SHOP”). .  For more details about the SHOP marketplace, you may visit www.healthcare.gov/what-is-the-shop-marketplace. By purchasing the health insurance through SHOP, the small business is eligible for a tax credit.  www.irs.gov/uac/Small-Business-Health-Care-Tax-Credit-for-Small-Employers.