!OMEGA HR ALERT!
Hot off the press here is the latest in HR news. We hope you can gain from our insight without having to strain through the minutia of detail getting right to the relevant facts. While you are at it don’t forget to sign up for our daily blog for another way to stay on top of the news that impacts you directly in the world of HR.
IMPORTANT DEADLINE FOR THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
ALL EMPLOYERS MUST COMPLY
There is an important deadline approaching regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “ObamaCare”. This deadline must be complied with regardless of whether you are going to have to comply with the delayed employer mandate. You may be aware that employers that do not have 50 full-time equivalent employees are not required to provide insurance to their employees. However, the government still requires employers regardless of size to provide information to their employees. This is what the October 1, 2013 deadline refers to, information in the form of notices that must be given each and every employee.
For Employers not offering healthcare plans
If you are an employer that does not offer health insurance and has fewer than 50 full-time equivalents you still are obligated to inform you employees of the availability of healthcare insurance through the Health Care Exchange. The MODEL NOTICE for employers not providing insurance can be found here. In Part B of this notice there is a section that must be completed by the employer. In Georgia there is NO state run marketplace. All employees must be referred to the Healthcare.gov website in order to shop for insurance.
For Employers who offer healthcare plans
For employers who offer healthcare plans, whether or not they are under the 50 FTE mark, there is a MODEL NOTICE available here. In Part B there are two sections that need to be completed by the employer. This form informs the employee that they can possibly get insurance at a reduced cost through the insurance marketplace. As above the employee will have to visit the Federal government website Healthcare.gov to compare insurance.
For employers covered by COBRA
In addition to the information that has to be provided above all health plans that are covered by COBRA (more than 20 employees) must give their employees a new COBRA rights document which can be found here. As of October 1, 2013 all COBRA covered employers who terminate an employee must now give them the option of choosing COBRA to continue their coverage, or a second option of going into the exchange. The employee will have to understand the level of coverage and cost of both COBRA and the exchange. There’s deadline pressure for the employee, too. If they don’t make a choice within 60 days, they get neither, which would leave them uninsured. For employers, there’s no obligation to assist the employee in weighing options and making a smart decision. Whether or not they choose to assist is yet another decision which employers and their HR staffs will have to make with regard to PPACA. There are a number of areas that have to be completed by the employer.
For companies that use a third-party COBRA administrator that administrator may be the producer of this form. For companies that self-administer COBRA it is necessary to properly complete this form before it is given to the employee.
There are three levels of employers. Some compliance is required at all three levels.
First, there are employers who provide no insurance and have fewer than 50 FTEs. They must give their employees the notice that informs them of the availability of the Healthcare Exchange.
Secondly there are employers who offer insurance regardless of the size of the company. They must provide their employees with the notice of what coverage they have and where they can go to see if they can purchase insurance at a cheaper rate. For employers that are in this category and have more than 50 FTEs there are requirements on the affordability of the insurance. Check with your insurance broker to fully understand these metrics.
Thirdly there are employers that are subject to COBRA if they have more than 20 employees. If, as an employer, you are in this category then you must provide all terminated employees a new COBRA notice that not only offers them COBRA coverage but also information on getting insurance through the Healthcare exchange.
If you have any questions about the information provided in this alert please use the form below and we will get right back to you: