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implementing health care reform: model notices added to employers’ to-do lists

May 29, 2013

in health care reform

add one more thing to your to-do list, employers! the department of labor’s employee benefits security administration released a model notice earlier this month for you to send out no later than october 1, 2013. this model notice will inform employees about:

  • the availability of the marketplace (formerly, “the exchange”)
  • the possibility that an employee may be eligible for a premium tax credit through the marketplace
  • the impact of enrolling in an exchange on employer contributions and the related tax benefits

only employers subject to the fair labor standards act (FLSA) or otherwise identified must issue this notice. in addition, the guidance stipulates:

  • employers must inform each employee, including part-time and full-time employees
  • employers don’t need to provide a separate notice to dependents or other individuals who are or may become eligible for coverage under the plan but who aren’t currently employees.
  • the notice may be provided in writing or electronically, provided the electronic notice meets the requirements of the department of labor’s disclosure requirements.

the department of labor created notices employers can use whether they offer a health plan or they don’t, and they’re actually written in plain english! employers should be aware, however, that these are only temporary notices and certain aspects, like minimum value, are still being finalized. in the guidance document, the department of labor explains its reason for issuing the temporary model notices: the DOL wishes to respond to employers who’ve requested earlier receipt of these model notices.

employers who are making the investment in early education can use these model notices as a jumping-off point. as with all other health communications, the notices would benefit from tweaking. additional Q&A covering your plan particulars, the inclusion of big-picture changes and messages, and other personalized, customized information will better equip employees in their efforts to make informed decisions.

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