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Employers Must Provide Notification of Health Insurance Options to Employees by October 1, 2013

The opening of the government’s Health Insurance Marketplace (HIM) on October 1 is fast approaching and with it comes a new requirement to Section 18B of the Fair Labor Standards Act that all businesses should be aware of. By October 1, 2013 employers must provide written notices about health insurance options, including notification of the new health insurance marketplace, to their employees. This requirement includes all current employees regardless of the hours they work or their health benefit enrollment status.

Employees can be notified by First Class mail or using email. For those employees hired after September 30, 2013, notices about health benefit options must be provided at the time of hiring, which is a change from the current window of 14 days.

The Department of Labor website details the information that must be included in the employee notices and also has links to model notices that employers can use. These model notices address both employers who do offer health insurance and those who do not. There is also an updated model notice for COBRA elections available from the Department of Labor website. According to the Department of Labor, all model notices must include employees’ identifying and contact information.

For employers providing health insurance, the Department of Labor must also provide information about which of their employees are offered coverage, the eligibility requirement for coverage, and a statement that addresses whether the cost of the coverage is intended to be affordable to each employee based on their wages.

The Healthcare Reform Act is bringing many changes that businesses should be aware of. We will provide periodic updates about this important legislation and its impact on individuals and businesses. We also recommend visiting www.healthcare.gov for the most up-to-date information.

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