Thursday, September 19, 2013

Employers Need to Inform Employees About Health Care Coverage by Oct. 1

Mark your calendars!

October 1 is the final deadline for employers to inform employees about health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.  AHCA/NCAL’s webpage on the Affordable Care Act contains a checklist of requirements for employers.  The United States Department of Labor has provided model notices for employers offering insurance coverage to employees, as well as for those not offering coverage.  The model notice for employers that offer coverage to some or all of their employees and the model notice for employers who do not offer a health plan are both available in Microsoft Word format and can be found on the Department of Labor website here.

On October 1, the Health Insurance Marketplace launches enabling qualified individuals to shop and enroll in an insurance plan. The Open Enrollment period is Oct. 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014.  Insurance can begin on Jan. 1, 2014.

In addition, it is important to note that open enrollment for the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace, which is a new program for small businesses that simplifies the process of buying health coverage for your employees, begins on October 1.  Starting in 2014, small businesses with generally up to 50 employees will have access to the new health care insurance marketplaces through the SHOP.  In 2016, employers with up to 100 employees will be able to participate in SHOP.  Employers that are eligible for SHOP can call the new Health Insurance Marketplace Small Employer Call Center at 1-800-706-7893 to get general SHOP and small business questions answered by a customer service representative. Current call center hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

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