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Archived: Regulators Postpone Key Employer Requirement Under Health Reform

Posted on January 25, 2013

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has delayed the scheduled March 1 implementation of a federal health care reform provision requiring employers to inform workers about health insurance exchanges.

Health Care ReformThe regulation under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would require “affected employers” to provide a written notice to all current employees, and subsequently to each new employee on date of hire, on three issues:

  1. Inform employees about state insurance exchanges including how to access the exchange and the type of services they provide;
  2. That employees eligible for coverage through their employer may still access services through the exchange with a possible premium tax credit if the employer’s coverage is either unaffordable or not of minimum value; and
  3. That employees accessing insurance through a state exchange may lose the employer’s contribution towards health insurance.

The DOL has decided to postpone the compliance date from March 1 to the “late summer or fall” of 2013.

Federal regulators say they intend to coordinate the employer notification requirement with educational efforts being undertaken by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Internal Revenue Service guidelines on determining the minimum value of employer plans and the open enrollment periods of state exchanges.

Employers have been waiting for further guidance from the DOL on how to comply with this notice requirement.  More specifically, employers have been waiting to see if the DOL would provide a model notice or model language to be included in an employer written notice.

It is unclear whether regulators will issue such a model notice or, in the alternative, whether they will direct employers to language contained in similar notices for benefits available through state exchanges as contained on their websites.