What is the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly called Obamacare, is a United States federal statute signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. As a result of this health care reform, the ACA aims to increase the quality and affordability of health insurance, lower the rate of uninsured by expanding public and private insurance coverage, and reduce the costs of health care for individuals and the government. It provides a number of mechanisms – including mandates, subsidies, and insurance exchanges-to increase coverage and affordability.
What does the ACA mean to Employers?
With this health care reform comes changes and although Employer mandates have been delayed until 2015, Employer notification requirements have NOT been delayed.
By October 1, 2013, almost all employers are required to provide written notice to employees about the federal and state Health Insurance Marketplaces, most commonly known as “Exchanges”.
Here is what we know:
Who needs to provide the ACA notification requirement?
The notification requirements are generally applicable to all employers who have revenues of $500,000.00 annually and employ one or more employees.
Who must receive the ACA notification and when?
All current employees, regardless of plan enrollment status (if applicable) or part-time or full-time status, must receive the notification by October 1, 2013. After October 1, 2013, employers will be required to provide the notice to all newly hired employees within 14 days of their hire date.
How must the employee receive the ACA notification?
The Notice may be provided to the employee by first-class mail or it may be provided electronically if the requirements of the Department of Labor’s electronic safe harbor are met (29 CFR 2520.104b-1(c))
What satisfies the ACA notification requirements?
The Department of Labor (DOL) has provided a model notice for employers. There are two models. There is one for employers that do not provide health insurance to their employees. There is another for employers that offer health insurance to one or more employees. Examples of the model notices are located on the DOL website at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform/index.html
The notification must inform the employee of the existence on a new Marketplace where they can enroll for new coverage options. Employers must provide the contact information of the Marketplace and explain that employees may be eligible for premium tax credits under the ACA. Employees must also be informed that purchasing products through insurance exchanges may allow the employer to eliminate employer contributions if employers are currently providing them for insurance premiums offered.
Although the ACA was enacted in 2010, the regulations and compliance requirements are still being written. We at Sedore & Company, C.P.A.’s, P.C. will pass on any new information to you as we receive it. If you have any questions regarding these employer and employee requirements, please contact us at 845-485-5510 or 845-897-1040. If we cannot answer your questions due to the complexity of this new law, we will be certain to refer you to the appropriate source for that information.