• DOL Extends March 1 Deadline for Affordable Care Act Exchange Notice
  • January 31, 2013 | Author: Harris T. Booker
  • Law Firm: Barley Snyder - Lancaster Office
  • In guidance published January 24, 2014, the U. S. Department of Labor announced that it is postponing a looming March 1 Affordable Care Act (ACA) deadline for employers to provide written notices to their employees about the state health care Exchanges that will be operating beginning in 2014.  By way of background, Section 1512 of the ACA imposed on employers a March 1, 2013 deadline by which they were to give existing employees a written notice that (1) informs them about the existence beginning in 2014 of a state health care Exchange and what services the Exchange will provide, (2) explains the possible availability of tax credits to the employee if he or she purchases health plan coverage through the Exchange, and (3) explains the loss of employer contributions for health plan benefits that would result if the employee enrolls in Exchange coverage and the tax treatment of such employer contributions.

    The DOL announcement that it will not be enforcing the March 1 Exchange notice deadline does not set a future alternative date by which the notice is to be provided.  Rather,  the required employer distribution of the Exchange notice is delayed to a date in the late summer or fall of 2013, with the specific new deadline date deferred to a future announcement.  That new date will coordinate with the first annual open enrollment period for the newly-established Exchanges.  The DOL also disclosed it is considering providing model, generic language that employers will be able to use to satisfy the notice requirement.

    This extension of the March 1 Exchange notice deadline, and the stated intent to provide a model form of notice, is welcome news, because most employers are not as yet in a position either to understand and explain to their employees the details of how the state Exchanges will operate, or to explain the tax and other alternatives of Exchange-based coverage versus employer-provided coverage.  A future Barley Snyder Client Alert or Newsletter article will follow-up on this ACA Exchange Notice requirement once we have from the DOL a revised deadline date and information about model notice language.