It seems like forever, that we have been bombarded with information, both informative and no so informative, about the Affordable Care Act, aka Obama Care.  What we, as employers, must do, when we must do and what will happen if we don’t. Many directives have been postponed or amended. What has not been postponed is that October 1st will be here in 3 short weeks.

What does this mean for you the employer? Are you asking why, if you already offer health insurance to your employees, do you need to send them this notification? 

The reason espoused by the government is that every employee on your payroll is educated on the new health care exchange marketplace and is able to make a comparison about health care products, benefits and costs.  Armed with this information, your employees will then be able to make an intelligent decision on where to purchase health insurance that meets their needs and budget.

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Even though the employer mandates to provide health insurance are now delayed to 2015, the individual mandate which requires every individual to buy health insurance is still very much alive and well.  The federal healthcare exchange, or “marketplace” as it is commonly known, is scheduled to open on 10/1/2013.  (Key word – scheduled).

Under the ACA, if you are an employer mandated to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act, it is your responsibility to provide your employees with a notification detailing information about the marketplace, regardless of their status (part-time or full-time) no later than October 1, 2013.

Going forward any time you hire an employee the market notification must be included in the “new hire packet, either at the time they are hired or within 14 days of their start date, at no charge to the employee.

To help you with the exchange notification process the Department of Labor has provided model notices on its website: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform/