This month the Department of Labor (DOL) issued two important documents to assist employers in informing their employees of the availability of Health Insurance Marketplaces.
The temporary technical release and model notice set are being issued by the DOL many months ahead of a newly-issued deadline – originally, the notice should have been distributed to all employees by March 1st, 2013. However, due to a delay in drafting minimum value (MV) regulations, the deadline was extended early this year to October 1st, 2013. This notice now must be provided to all current employees by October 1st and to all employees hired on or after October 1st within 14 days of their start date. Both full-time and part-time employees are included. There are two versions of the model notice that make up this set – a model for employers who offer a medical plan and a model for employers who do not.
Each model notice includes a Part A and Part B. While the model notice can be modified, Part A includes four specific content requirements that must be retained. Part B is optional and may be problematic for many employers since the information contained may change dramatically as of January 1st, 2014. Also, it is unclear whether or not employers will have to provide this notice to their employees annually or only when the information changes.
Finally, the DOL has also issued a modified model Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) notice. This notice is designed to inform qualified beneficiaries that they could seek coverage in the Marketplace and how COBRA coverage does not disqualify them from qualifying for subsidies.