The Department of Labor (DOL) May 8 issued a technical release containing guidance on a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that requires employers to issue employees a notice of coverage options. This guidance will remain in effect until DOL promulgates regulations or other guidance. Future regulations or other guidance on these issues will provide adequate time to comply with any additional or modified requirements.

The requirement to provide a notice to employees of coverage options applies to employers to which the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies. Employers must provide a notice of coverage options to each employee, regardless of plan enrollment status (if applicable) or of part-time or full-time status.

Under the guidance, employers are required to provide the notice to each new employee at the time of hiring beginning Oct. 1, 2013. For 2014, DOL will consider a notice to be provided at the time of hiring if the notice is provided within 14 days of an employee’s start date.

With respect to employees that are current employees before Oct. 1, 2013, employers are required to provide the notice no later than Oct. 1, 2013. 

DOL has provided model notices for employers that do offer health plans for some or all employees and for employers who do not offer a health plan. Employers may use one of these models, as applicable, or a modified version, provided the notice meets the content requirements.

The DOL website also includes a model COBRA continuation coverage election notice and a tool to determine applicability of FLSA. 

Model Notice for employers who offer a health plan to some or all employees:
http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/FLSAwithplans.pdf

Model Notice for employers who do not offer a health plan:
http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/FLSAwithoutplans.pdf

Model COBRA Continuation Coverage Election Notice 
http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/compliance_assistance.html

Internet compliance assistance tool to determine applicability of the FLSA:
http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/scope/screen24.asp

ABC members should remember this article is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended, and should not be relied upon, as legal advice. Members should seek advice based on their particular circumstances from an independent legal counsel.