If you’re in business – or if you’ve been paying attention to the news for the past 6 years – you’ve heard about the Affordable Care Act (or the ACA or Health Care Reform).
One of the important ACA nuances that business owners (and Human Resources professionals alike) need to know about is that employers are required to notify employees about new available healthcare plans in the Marketplace. The Healthcare Insurance Marketplace offers individuals the ability to view and acquire private insurance.
Notifying your employees about Marketplace availability is known as Exchange Notice or the Notice of Coverage Options. Here’s what your business needs to know.
What is the Employer Marketplace Exchange Notice?
The Exchange Notice is intended to inform employees about the availability of the Health Insurance Marketplace; inform employees they may be eligible for financial assistance; and, finally, that if employees purchase coverage through the Marketplace, they could lose their employer’s contributions (if any) to their health benefits at work.
Essentially, the Notice of Coverage Options provides complete transparency between employers and their employees regarding potential healthcare coverage options.
Employers need to be aware of two crucial areas with the notice:
- All employees – regardless of whether they are eligible or not for benefits (including full-time, part-time, seasonal, temporary, or union employees) –must receive the Notice within 14 days of hire.
- There is no requirement to distribute the Exchange Notice to non-employees (such as dependents, retired employees, former employees, or COBRA).
When should the Employer Marketplace Exchange Notice be used?
Incorporating the Notice of Coverage Options in your new hire process is the best way to ensure your company is compliant with the regulation.
Most employers are required to distribute the notice, with only a few exceptions. Examples of organizations that need to provide the notice to their employees include: hospitals and medical facilities; schools and higher education institutions; federal, state, or local government agencies; and employers cover by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). While the FLSA covers most private employers, some small businesses might be exempt. To see if your business is covered, use this Department of Labor tool