Small Business with Less Than 50 Employees? Some Plain-Talking Tips About Complying with the October 1, 2013 Affordable Care Act Notification Deadline

I’ve received a number of calls from my small-business clients who employ under 50 employees to clarify what they are required to do for the Affordable Care Act October 1, 2013 Employee Notification deadline this Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

For that reason, I’m providing for your information and clarification (attached and below), what is required for notification to your employees about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by this Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

Here are the facts at this writing (and hopefully they’re clearer than stereo instructions):

  • All companies, regardless of size, are required to notify their employees about the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare marketplaces.
  • However, within the last two weeks, the U.S. Department of Labor has stated on its website that while distributing the notice is required, there is no penalty for not distributing the notice – this applies to all businesses, regardless of the number of employees.  “Businesses should provide a written notice to their employees about the Health Insurance Marketplace by Oct. 1, 2013, but there is no fine or penalty under the law for failing to provide the notice.”
  • The notification requirement applies to any business regulated under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which covers all companies with at least one employee and $500,000 in annual revenue. There are no exceptions for small employers, which means nearly every business has to get out this notice to their employees.
    • The one- to three-page model notices can be downloaded, filled out, and printed, either for distribution in the office or for mailing to employees’ homes.
      • If you have not yet distributed the applicable notice for your business, email distribution with read-receipt-requested, or in-person hard-copy distribution is recommended.  Documenting the receipt of the notices by employees is also recommended.
      • The second and third pages of the model notices are optional.  However, if you don’t offer health insurance to your employees, the recommendation is to include pages one and two of that notice, below, as your employees will need the information on page two of the notice to purchase their health insurance on the state and federal Health Insurance Exchanges when they go live on Tuesday, October 1, 2013.
  • I have attached for your use two model notices:
  • All new hires who start work after October, 1, 2013  must get the notice within 14 days of their start date with the company.
  • Most small employers—those with 50 or fewer full-time employees—are not required to offer health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

For your further edification / education, here is a link to a great Businessweek article published last week, which plainly explains the above, and from which much of the above is quoted / reprinted.

If you employ 50 or more employees, please contact your benefits broker and/or labor legal counsel  for more detailed information and support.

Hopefully, you will find the above points helpful; please note that the clarification above and attached is not a substitute for legal advice.

Have a great week!


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