Notices Required by the Affordable Care Act by October 2013

By October 1, 2013, employers must provide current employees and new hires with notices concerning health insurance and state exchanges created pursuant to the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). These notices are required by section 18B of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), an amendment created by the ACA.

Originally, the employer notification was to occur by March 1, 2013, but the deadline was delayed. On May 8, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued Technical Release No. 2013-02, which announced the long-awaited instruction and contained a Model Notice to Employees of Coverage Options.

Employers subject to FLSA must distribute the notice to current employees no later than October 1, 2013.  New employees must be given the notice at the time of hire beginning October 1, 2013.  For 2014, the DOL will consider a notice to be provided at the time of hire if it is provided within 14 days of an employee’s start date. The notice is applicable to all employees, regardless of their plan enrollment or part/full-time status. It must be provided automatically, free of charge, and may be provided by first-class mail or electronically, so long as it meets the requirements of the DOL’s electronic disclosure policies.

The DOL provided specific details for such notice, as follows:

“[T]he notice to inform employees of coverage options must include information regarding the existence of a new Marketplace [state exchange] as well as contact information and description of the services provided by a Marketplace.  The notice must also inform the employee that the employee may be eligible for a premium tax credit under section 36B of the Code if the employee purchases a qualified health plan through the Marketplace; and a statement informing the employee that if the employee purchases a qualified health plan through the Marketplace, the employee may lose the employer contribution (if any) to any health benefits plan offered by the employer and that all or a portion of such contribution may be excludable from income for Federal income tax purposes.”

The Technical Release also provides an updated model election notice for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (“COBRA”) to reflect alternatives offered through the exchanges for comparative purposes.

The model notices should serve as a reminder that employers must determine their obligations under the ACA, and must do so soon. If you have questions about your options in offering health care coverage to employees, contact the employment law attorneys at McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC.

Brittany Blackburn Koch, Esq., is an associate attorney practicing in the Lexington office of McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC. She is a native of Pikeville, Kentucky, and a graduate of Centre College and the University of Kentucky College of Law. Ms. Koch’s practice focuses primarily on family law, employment law, criminal law and civil litigation. Ms. Koch has served in numerous public service roles, including representation for Fayette County Bar Association Domestic Violence Pro Bono Advocacy Program. She is actively involved in various organizations and committees, including the Board of Directors for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Young Professional Committee of Lexington Public Library Foundation, Fayette County and Kentucky Bar Associations, and Centre College Alumni Association.

She may be reached at bkoch@mmlk.com or at (859) 231-8780, ext. 300

This article is intended as a summary of  federal law and does not constitute legal advice.

Article originally appeared on McBrayer’s Employment Law blog, mcbrayeremploymentlaw.com. 

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Brittany Blackburn Koch is a member of the firm’s litigation group. Her practice is diverse, with a primary focus on civil litigation and family law. Her civil litigation practice includes the areas of contract disputes, personal injury, and employment law, which consists of representing employers in state and federal trial courts for issues associated with the enforcement of no-compete agreements, the investigation and defense of discrimination claims, and the negotiation and enforcement of severance agreements. Ms. Koch provides a variety of family law services ranging from the initiation to the conclusion of dissolution proceedings and including issues related to custody and timesharing, child support, division of property, maintenance/alimony, the drafting and enforcement of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, settlement agreements, and trial. Ms. Koch has represented clients before various trial courts throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky. She received her undergraduate degree from Centre College in 2005 and graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 2008. Prior to joining McBrayer Law Firm in 2009, Ms. Koch served as staff attorney to Hon. Kimberly Bunnell, Fayette Circuit Court Judge. Ms. Koch is a native of Pikeville, Kentucky. Among other activities, she serves on the Board of Directors of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), is an active member of the Centre Alumni Association, and provides services to the Fayette County Bar Association Pro Bono Domestic Violence Program.

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