New October 1, 2013 Deadline for Employers to Notify Employees of Health Care Coverage Options

Contributed by Rebecca Dobbs Bush 

In January, the DOL delayed the March 1, 2013 effective date of the notice requirements in Section 18B of the Fair Labor Standard Act to late summer or fall of 2013.  On May 8th the DOL clarified the delay in a technical release and provided guidance on a new October 1, 2013 deadline.

Employers must now provide current employees with notice of health care coverage options available through the ACA Exchange no later than October 1, 2013.

Additionally, beginning October 1, 2013, employers must provide new employees with notice of health care coverage options available through the ACA Exchange “at the time of hiring.”  For 2014 the DOL will consider an employer to have given notice “at the time of hiring,” if the notice is provided within 14 days of the new employee’s start date. 

The DOL’s technical release also includes model notices that employers can use to comply with the notice requirements. 

However, stay tuned as this guidance and the model notices are temporary as to what the DOL will consider compliance with Section 18B of the FLSA and will only remain in effect until formal regulations or additional guidance is issued.  See the full text of the DOL Technical Release No. 2013-02.

In today’s technical release, the DOL also issued guidance on a new model COBRA Election Notice.  The new model COBRA Election Notice includes language informing the qualified beneficiary that there may be other coverage options available through the Health Insurance Marketplace and the possibility of being eligible for a tax credit.  See the Redline Version of the COBRA Model Election Notice.