Have at least one employee and generate at least $500,000 in annual revenue? You better pay attention: There’s an Obamacare requirement that applies to you—and you must act by Oct. 1.
Most U.S. employers—even those with just one employee—are required to send a notice to all employees via first-class mail by Oct. 1 informing them about the new public health insurance exchanges. The notification requirement applies to any business regulated under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which covers all companies with at least one employee and $500,000 in annual revenue. The letters must be sent to all employees, full-time and part-time and regardless of their benefits plan status.
The letters must let the employees know that the exchange exists and provide other details to help employees understand how the exchange could help them. The letters must also be sent to any new employees who get hired after Oct. 1.
Specifically, the notice must include:
- The existence of the exchange;
- A description of the services provided by the exchange;
- How to contact the exchange to request assistance;
- The employee's potential eligibility for subsidized coverage on the exchange if your company’s group health plan doesn't provide "minimum value" (i.e., the plan's share of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under the plan is less than 60 percent of such costs); and
- The fact that the employee may lose the employer contribution (if any) toward health insurance coverage if he or she chooses to purchase individual coverage on the exchange.
It’s unclear what exact penalty employers will face if they don’t comply with the letter requirement, but they could reach $100 per worker per day, Keith McMurdy, a benefits partner in the law firm Fox Rothschild in New York, told BusinessWeek. "An employer with 10 employees typically says, ‘I don’t have to worry about it, because I don’t have to offer insurance,’" he said. "A lot of them are going to miss the deadline and be unpleasantly surprised when they do."
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