Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Obamacare Employer Mandate that's Still On

First post of the week on Thursday!? What's up with this dereliction of duty!? Sorry, it has been busy week.

I wanted to remind employers of an Obamacare mandate that as far as I know is still "on" - i.e. not delayed until next year like the employer insurance mandate. Under new provisions in the Fair Labor Standards Act, passed as part of the Affordable Care Act:
In accordance with regulations promulgated by the Secretary, an employer to which this chapter applies, shall provide to each employee at the time of hiring (or with respect to current employees, not later than March 1, 2013), written notice--

(1) informing the employee of the existence of an Exchange, including a description of the services provided by such Exchange, and the manner in which the employee may contact the Exchange to request assistance;
(2) if the employer plan's share of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under the plan is less than 60 percent of such costs, that the employee may be eligible for a premium tax credit under section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and a cost sharing reduction under section 18071 of Title 42 if the employee purchases a qualified health plan through the Exchange; and

(3) if the employee purchases a qualified health plan through the Exchange, the employee may lose the employer contribution (if any) to any health benefits plan offered by the employer and that all or a portion of such contribution may be excludable from income for Federal income tax purposes.
29 U.S.C.A. § 218b. Of course, we all know silly things like laws are just recommendations with no actual binding effect, right? (sadly, I'm not sure if that's sarcasm or honest analysis).

The Department of Labor has announced that employers may ignore that March deadline, and announced a new deadline of October 1, 2013. For the Department's specific guidance, see Guidance on the Notice to Employees of Coverage Options under Fair Labor Standards Act §18B and Updated Model Election Notice under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985.

Fox Business has some more coverage, and suggests that employers face a $100/day fine for noncompliance.

Image: DOL Seal - Not official use.