As I write this the House of Representatives has sent a bill back to the Senate that delays the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by one year. This is not expected to stand but we will have to wait and see. In the meantime there are other issues that employers need to be aware of, so here is an update on the Affordable Care Act.
October 1 deadline
The Fair Labor Standards Act was amended by the ACA to require that all employers subject to the FLSA, meaning at least one employee and revenue of $500k, had to provide a notice to their employees of the availability of healthcare exchanges. This notice was required by October 1, 2013. You can learn more by reading this post, The Next Step in the Affordable Care Act has to be done NOW! Initially there was the threat of fines if this date was not met. However, in the last week of September is was announced that there will be no penalty for not supplying this information or being late in supplying this information. As a DOL FAQ stated “If your company is covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, it should provide a written notice to its 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.” So if you have missed this deadline you can breath a sigh of relief.
Not every employee can preview their choices
Not everything is going smoothly with the exchanges. On September 26th, the administration announced that not all employees will be able to view their options for insurance. Technical difficulties have forced a deal until November 1st. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said employers with 50 or fewer workers will not be able to sign their staff up for private insurance in federally operated exchanges until a month after employers with more than 50 employees.
Additionally people who need the information in Spanish are out of luck. The Hispanic version of the website will not be available until “sometime in October.”
The IRS has also delayed information reporting requirements until 2015. However, experts are saying that employers will be busy giving information to employees on their health plans as those employees go to the marketplace to compare. There is an Appendix A to the application form that an employer is not obligated to provide information on, but most employers will provide the information because it will be easier to do so than explain to employees why they are unwilling to provide it.
Further information on the ACA can be found at Wolters Kluwer Business
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