Important Notice: Business are required to notify employees of the availability of health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act by October 1, 2013
Author: John Sorlie
Under the Affordable Care Act, each state has established a health insurance exchange where individual are able to obtain health insurance. Coverage under these exchanges will become available January 1, 2014 and the enrollment period for coverage will start October 1, 2013. Oregon’s health insurance exchange is called Cover Oregon. The Act requires that employers provide notices to their employees of the availability of coverage through Cover Oregon.
Current workers must be notified by October 1, 2013. The notice must be provided automatically, free of charge, and written in a manner that can be understood by the average employee. It may be provided by first-class mail or electronically if the requirements of the Department of Labor’s electronic disclosure safe harbor are met.
Additionally, each employer must provide a notice to each new employee at the time of hire.
The notice to employees must include:
- Information about the existence of Cover Oregon;
- Contact information for Cover Oregon;
- A description of the services provided by the Cover Oregon;
- The fact that an employee may be eligible for a premium tax credit if the employee purchases a qualified health plan through Cover Oregon:
- Notification that the employee loses the employer contribution toward health coverage should they purchase a qualified health plan through Cover Oregon.
- The fact that all or a portion of the employer contribution to a health plan may be excludable from income for Federal income tax purposes.
Notices must be provided to all employees, whether full-time or part-time, and whether they are eligible for your company health plan.
Cover Oregon has adopted a prototype notice form that can be used to satisfy the notice requirement. The form for employers that have an employee health plan is at http://www.coveroregon.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/flsa_with_plans_CO.pdf, and the notice for employers without a health plan is at http://www.coveroregon.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/flsa_without_plans_CO.pdf.