While the administration has postponed the implementation of the employer insurance mandate until 2015, an important Obamacare deadline for employers was not delayed. On or before October 1, 2013, all employers with at least one employee and $500,000 annual gross revenues must provide a written notice to its current employees outlining their enrollment options under the Obamacare insurance exchanges and the healthcare plans sponsored by the company (if applicable).
The notice must be given to all employees regardless of part-time status or enrollment in an employer sponsored health plan, and can be delivered either by first class mail or electronic mail (if employees have access to email in the course of their work). The easiest way for employers to comply is to download the model notice form published by the Department of Labor and fill in the blanks. There are two sample forms, one for employers that offer health insurance to some or all employees, and one for employers that do not offer health insurance. Employers who offer health insurance do not need to fill out the optional personalized information on the third page of the form. The DOL website also has the model form in Spanish and in MS Word format.
After October 1, 2013, employers must provide the same notice to any newly hired employees within fourteen days of hire. While there is no specific fine for non-compliance attached to this requirement in the Obamacare statute, there is a general $100 per day fine for non-compliance with Obamacare that may be applied if the notification requirements are not met. Employers are therefore advised to make sure they have someone designated in their organization to administrate the ongoing provision of notices to employees.
UPDATE: The Department of Labor announced in a FAQ published on September 11 that employers will not face a fine or penalty for failing to provide the Obamacare notice to employees by October 1. Employers should still proceed with compliance to avoid any potential claims from employees that the failure to provide notice prevented employees from taking advantage of the Obamacare exchanges.