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March 1st Exchange Options Notice Requirement Delayed

01/25/13

  04:38:22 pm, by MedBen5   , 345 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

March 1st Exchange Options Notice Requirement Delayed

On January 24, 2013, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it would delay the compliance date for the delivery of employer-provided Exchange Option Notices required to be distributed to employees beginning March 1, 2013.

As part of health care reform, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to require employers to provide employees (including newly hired employees) with information about health care Exchanges and ways in which individuals can qualify for federal subsidies to purchase health care coverage through an Exchange.

Originally, the Notice of Exchange Coverage Options was to be delivered to employees beginning March 1, 2013. The ACA requires the DOL to create and release a Model Exchange Notice for employers to use, but to date no model language has been released. This is due, in part, to the fact that many States have not yet decided if or how they will create an Exchange and no information is available about the Federal Exchange program. In the present guidance, the DOL anticipates that the Notices will not be required to be distributed until late Summer or early Fall of 2013, probably in coordination with the open enrollment period for the Exchanges.

When the Notices are required to be distributed, they must include specific information, including the following:

  • Information regarding the existence of a particular Exchange available to an employee (either the applicable State Exchange or the Federal Exchange) along with a description of services and policies being offered by that Exchange and information on how to contact each Exchange to request information and assistance.
  • Information regarding how an employee can determine if he or she is eligible for a premium tax credit or a cost-sharing reduction through an applicable Exchange.
  • Information explaining to employees that if they purchase a qualified health plan through the Exchange they may lose any employer contribution toward the cost of employer-provided coverage and that all or a portion of such contribution may be excludable from income for Federal income tax purposes.

MedBen clients with questions regarding this Notice requirement may contact Vice President of Compliance Caroline Fraker at 800-851-0907.

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