September 13, 2013
In most cases, yes, you must distribute a Health Care Reform Exchange Notice by October 1st, 2013. The rule applies to any business that falls under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The main qualifications are companies that have more than 1 employee, engage in interstate commerce, produce goods for commerce, or have >$500,000 in annual sales. To test if you fall under the FLSA, you can use this Fair Labor Standards Act Advisor tool.
Health Care Reform Exchange Notice Guidelines
The written notice given to each employee must provide information about the exchange (also referred to as “marketplaces”) and how to request assistance, describe the availability of a premium tax credit and outline the implications for the employee if they choose to purchase a qualified health plan through an exchange.
The notice must be provided to ALL employees, including full-time, part-time and union employees, whether or not they are eligible for employer health insurance benefits or not. It does not have to be provided to dependents, COBRA participants, retirees, or independent contractors.
Health Care Reform Act Penalties
The penalties for failing to provide the notice are vague for now, but the general noncompliance fine for the Health Care Reform Act as a whole are $100/day/employee. (Note that later in the day of this post, the Department of Labor stated that they were not planning on fining employers at this time for not properly distributing the notice). Employers should keep a log of how the notice was distributed and who received it, in case of a later audit.
For more information, view this sample Health Care Exchange Notice.