When federal officials announced in July that the penalties for the “Pay or Play” mandate would be put on hold until 2015, many employers pushed the Affordable Care Act aside and have no plans to address it until next year. This approach could be dangerous, as there are still many provisions that employers need to be aware of.
The most urgent requirement applies to all businesses, regardless of their size or whether or not health benefits are provided to employees. October 1, 2013 is the date that Californians and other state residents can compare and shop online for health plans under the “exchange” program, and the Individual Mandate begins January 1, 2014. Therefore, employers need to provide written notice to all current employees explaining the Individual Mandate requirement, describing the options available through Covered California and communicating potential tax credit eligibility.
Notification must be provided to current employees by October 1st and to new hires within 14 days of their start date. The Department of Labor has created sample notification forms in both English and Spanish, which are available for download at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform/index.html under the “Notice to Employees of Coverage Options” heading. You can also click on the image below to access the form directly.FAQ’s on the October 1st notice requirement can be found at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq-noticeofcoverageoptions.html.
Although the government recently announced that there will be no immediate penalties for non-compliance with this notice requirement, PAYDAY Workforce Solutions strongly recommends that employers comply by October 1st to prevent any issues from arising. Covered California will be highly advertised in the weeks to come, and employers can expect questions from employees about this process. The notice should be a good resource to employees in answering their questions.
PAYDAY can provide compliance assistance through BeneForce, the newest addition to our Smart Solutions family. For questions regarding employer requirements under the Affordable Care Act or for assistance with benefits and tracking, ask your Dedicated Specialist or contact Danielle Sweet.