On May 8 the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration (DOL) issued temporary guidance on the timing and content of the notice employers must provide to employees explaining their coverage options under the health insurance marketplaces. These marketplaces are called exchanges in the health care reform law.
This notice requirement was originally to take effect March 1, 2013, but was delayed. Technical Release 2013-02 now says that employers must provide this notice to current employees by October 1, 2013. Employers are required to provide the notice to each new employee at the time of hire beginning October 1, 2013. For 2014, the DOL will consider a notice to be provided at the time of hire if the notice is given within 14 days of an employee’s start date.
The DOL released this temporary guidance based on requests from employers for a model notice that they may be able to inform their employees now about the upcoming coverage options through the marketplace. The technical release includes a model notice for employers who offer a health plan to some or all employees, a model notice for employers who do not offer a health plan, and a COBRA model election notice. Employers are permitted to use these model notices and to rely on this temporary guidance to fulfill this requirement.