James M. Craig, P.A., Labor and Employment Law ALERT
It is no secret that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (now popularly referred to as “Obamacare”) will have a substantial impact in the workplace. One such impact is the requirement that, no later than October 1, 2013, virtually every employer provide written notice to employees regarding their coverage options under Obamacare. Specifically, last month, the Employee Benefits Security Administration of the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued Technical Release No. 2013-02, which provides that the written notice must:
1) Inform the employee of the existence of the Obamacare Marketplace (the so called “Exchange”), describe the services provided by the Exchange, and advise the employee how to contact the Exchange to obtain assistance;
2) Inform the employee that, if the employer’s health care plan’s share of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under such plan is less than 60% of such costs, the employee may be eligible for a premium tax credit under §36B of the Internal Revenue Code if the employee purchases a health plan through the Exchange; and
3) If the employee purchases a qualified health plan through the Exchange, the employee may lose the employer’s contribution, if any, to any health benefit plan provided by the employer and that all or a portion of such contribution may be excludable from income for income tax purposes.
Fortunately, the DOL has provided on its website (www.dol.gov) model notices for employers to use (one version is for employers who have healthcare plans for their employees and the other is for those employers who do not). If the employer opts to create its own form of the notice, it must be “written in a manner calculated to be understood by the average employee.” This notice requirement applies to any employer covered under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act – essentially every employer in the United States. The notice must be given to every part- and full-time employee. Finally, the written notice may be provided to the employee through the mail or electronically.
As always, should you have any questions regarding the foregoing, please do not hesitate to contact me. I sincerely hope you all are having a wonderful start to your summers.