On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2012 (“PPACA”) into law. The PPACA created a Health Insurance Marketplace (commonly referred to as an “Exchange”), in which consumers are given the opportunity to choose amongst a range of option to purchase health insurance coverage. The PPACA gives states the option to establish and operate a Health Insurance Exchange. Pennsylvania and New Jersey have both opted to have the Federal Government operate their Exchanges, while Delaware’s Exchange will be administered jointly by the State and Federal Government. Open enrollment for health insurance coverage through the Exchange begins October 1, 2013, for coverage starting as early as January 1, 2014.
The PPACA also amends the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to require employers to issue written notices to new and existing employees informing them about the Exchange. Originally, the PPACA required employers to begin providing notices to current employees by March 1, 2013. Earlier this year, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) postponed that date until further notice.
On May 8, 2013, the DOL issued a Technical Release requiring employers subject to the FLSA to provide the required notice to all current employees by October 1, 2013. Starting on October 1st, new employees must receive the notice within 14 days of the employee’s start date. The notice must include information about services provided by the Exchange, tax credit eligibility, and employer-provided coverage. The DOL also issued two model notices, one for employers who do not offer a health plan (available at www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/FLSAwithoutplans.pdf) and another for employers who offer a health plan to some or all employees (available at www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/FLSAwithplans.pdf). As employers are permitted to use the model notices beginning immediately, we recommend that all FLSA-covered employers begin to issue notices to current and new employees as soon as possible.
The recent Technical Release also includes an updated model election notice for continued coverage under group health plans, pursuant to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). While the PPACA does not eliminate COBRA or change COBRA standards, the updated model election notice explains that the Marketplace provides an alternative coverage option. Further information about COBRA, as well as the updated model election notice, is available at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/cobra.html.
The full text of the release is available at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/newsroom/tr13-02.html.
Obermayer attorneys are available to answer your questions and assist you in formulating new practices and procedures to ensure that your company is in compliance with these notice provisions and other requirements of the PPACA and FLSA.
The information contained in this publication should not be construed as legal advice, is not a substitute for legal counsel, and should not be relied on as such. For legal advice or answers to specific questions, please contact one of our attorneys.