|March 11, 2013|
Previously published on February 28, 2013
With 2013 in full swing, now is an excellent time to begin preparing for the changes that will take place as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
One such change requires all employers with 50 or more full-time employees to provide each employee at the time of hiring with written notice, in plain language, of certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act, including:
- Notice of the existence of a health care exchange (the state-organized health insurance marketplace, a mandatory provision of the Affordable Care Act), including a description of the services provided the exchange, and the manner in which the employee may contact the exchange to request assistance
- If the employer’s contribution to the health insurance premium is less than 60 percent, notice that employees may be eligible for a premium tax credit under Section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and a cost-sharing reduction under Section 1402 of the Affordable Care Act if the employee purchases a qualified health plan through the exchange; and
- Notice that if the employee purchases a qualified health plan through the exchange and the employer does not offer a free choice voucher[i], the employee may lose the employer contribution (if any) to the health benefits plan offered by the employer and that all or a portion of such contribution may be excludable from income for federal income tax purposes.
Although New York State is in the process of developing a Health Benefit Exchange, this process is not yet complete, and many other states are in the same position. Because of this, and due to the lack of information currently available to employers, the Department of Labor has postponed the notification requirement indefinitely and will issue a new compliance date in the future.
Information on the New York State Health Benefit Exchange is available at http://healthbenefitexchange.ny.gov/.
[i] For those employers who offer health insurance coverage to their employees, beginning in 2014, the employer must provide “free choice vouchers” to qualified employees. Qualified employees are those employees who choose not to participate in their employer’s plan and whose share of the premium costs required under their employer’s plan exceed 8 percent of their household income but is less than 9.8 percent of their household income and whose household income is less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level.