In last September’s newsletter, we told you about a requirement under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, that required employers to provide a health care notice to their existing employees by October 1, 2013.
For calendar year 2014, this notice must be provided to all new employees within 14 days of their start date.
This notice is required whether or not you provide health coverage to your employees, and the notice must be provided to all employees, both full-time and part-time. The purpose of the notice is to inform employees about the requirement under Obamacare that all individuals (with a few exceptions) must have health insurance by March 1, 2014, either individually or through their employer.
You are not required to have your employees sign the notice, nor are you required to keep copies of the notice or submit them to any government agency. The only requirement is that you provide the notice to all full-time and part-time employees.
There are two versions of the notice: one for employers currently offering health coverage to employees and one for those employers who do not offer health insurance to employees. Both notices have been updated for calendar year 2014 (the only real difference from the old notices is the date is updated to 2014).
Employers that currently offer a health plan for employees: Your version of the notice is 3 pages and has a blank towards the bottom of the first page that you need to fill in with the name of the person your employees can contact about their health insurance. This can be someone in your office, like the person in charge of Human Resources, it can be the contact person at your health insurance company.
Before giving the notice to your employees, you need to fill in the information requested in Part B of the form (questions 3 through 12), which is basic information about your company. You will also need to answer the questions in Part B regarding your current health plan. Please note: The information requested on page 3 of the notice is optional. You do not have to fill out questions 13 through 16.
Employers that currently do not offer a health plan for employees: Your version of the notice is only 2 pages and contains a statement on page 2 telling the employee “You are not eligible for health insurance coverage through this employer. You and your family may be able to obtain health coverage through the Marketplace, with a new kind of tax credit that lowers your monthly premiums and with assistance of out-of-pocket costs.”
Before giving the notice to your employees, you will need to fill in the information requested in Part B of the form (questions 3 through 12), which is basic information about your company.
[You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer in order to view and print some of these forms correctly. To download Acrobat Reader free of charge, click here.]
Please note: The health care notice requirement applies to businesses, regardless of number of employees. The federal government is basically using your business to get the word out to your employees about the new requirement for all individuals to have health insurance. The law does not require small businesses to change anything they are doing currently with regards to health insurance or to start offering health insurance for their employees, nor does it impose a penalty on small businesses not providing health insurance to employees. However, the law does require businesses with more than 50 employees to purchase health insurance for employees or pay penalties, but that requirement has been postponed until 2015.
If you provided this notice to your employees last year, you do not have to give them this notice again. You only need to give it to new employees within 14 days of their start date.
If you have any questions about this notice requirement, please call the LSBA offices at (844) 242-LSBA (5722) and ask for Karen, Lance or Erin.
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