ERISA Technical Release 2013-02 Issued by the Department of Labor

Beginning October 1, 2013, employers must provide employees with a written notice about the private Health Insurance Marketplace (also known as the Exchange).  The DOL has issued model notices and has updated its COBRA notices for employers to use to let employees know about the availability of health insurance through the Exchange.

Marketplace (Exchange) Notice and October 1, 2013 deadline for distribution.

Beginning January 1, 2014, individuals and employees of small businesses will have access to affordable coverage through the Exchange.  The Exchange offers “one-stop shopping” to find and compare private health insurance options.

The DOL has issued model notices that employers may use to notify employees of health coverage options that are available through the Exchange.  Health care reform requires employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to provide the notice to new hires and current employees informing them about the Exchange.  An employer subject to the FLSA generally means an employer that employs one or more employees who is engaged in, or produces goods for, interstate commerce.  For most companies, a test of not less than $500,000 in annual dollar volume of business also applies.  The FLSA also specifically covers hospitals; institutions primarily engaged in the care of the sick, the aged, mentally ill, or disabled who reside on the premises; schools for children who are mentally or physically disabled or gifted; preschools, elementary, and secondary schools, and institutions of higher education; and federal, state, and local government agencies.

Exchange notices must be provided to current employees by October 1, 2013. All employees must receive a notice regardless of their full- or part-time status.  Employers should begin preparations for drafting and distributing the required Exchange notice. Please let us know if we can be of assistance.

DOL Updates the COBRA Model Election Notice

The DOL has updated its model COBRA election notice. Most of the revisions relate to health care reform and the new coverage that will be available through the Health Insurance Marketplace beginning in 2014.

Plan sponsors, COBRA administrators, and advisors should familiarize themselves with the revised model election notice and adapt their own notices accordingly.  Please contact us if you have any questions or if we can be of assistance.


About John McMorrow

John has 30 years of experience counseling public- and private-sector for-profit and not-for-profit employers and their affiliated business entities, management, human resources professionals, third-party administrators and fiduciaries with respect to the laws that apply to executive compensation arrangements and workforce benefit programs and policies. He works comfortably with HR professionals, general counsel and boards of directors. In 1998, John received a National Performance Review Award from Vice President Al Gore for his assistance in developing and writing the regulations under Section 2043 of ERISA for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
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