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DOL Issues Temporary Guidance on Employee Notification Requirements

On May 8, 2013, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued temporary guidance (Technical Release 2013-02) on the employee notification requirements that are a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act). As part of the Affordable Care Act, a new Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Section 18B was created that requires employers to notify employees of coverage options available through the Health Insurance Marketplace. ("Marketplace" is the new term coined by Health and Human Services and is viewed as more descriptive than the term "Exchange.") New employees must receive this notice at the time of hiring beginning October 1, 2013. For 2014, the DOL will consider a notice to be provided at the time of hiring if the notice is provided within 14 days of an employee's start date. Current employees must receive notice no later than October 1, 2013. 

The requirements of this notice include:

  • Every employee regardless of plan enrollment status (if applicable) or of part-time or full-time status must be notified.
  • Inclusion of information regarding the existence of a new Marketplace as well as contact information and description of the services provided by a Marketplace.
  • Information 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.
  • Information 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 notice must be provided in writing that is easily understood by the average employee and can be provided via first class mail or email.

Model notice language can be accessed at www.dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform. Model language is available for both employers who do not offer a health plan and for employers who offer a health plan to some or all employees. Employers can use the model language or create their own assuming it meets the requirements described above.

The guidance also provides an updated model election notice for group health plans for purposes of the continuation coverage provisions under COBRA, which includes additional information regarding health coverage alternatives offered through the Marketplace. WageWorks will be updating Client COBRA notices as necessary to comply with the new Exchange notice requirements.

You can review the guidance directly at the links below

Model COBRA Election Notices:

  • The COBRA model election notice is available here.
  • The COBRA model election notice, redline version (to show May 2013 changes), is available at here.

For additional information or questions, please contact your Client Services contact.