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Today is October 1st, which marks the official launch of numerous provisions and deadlines related to new national healthcare laws known collectively as the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
As a small business owner, you may be unsure or confused of what you need to provide your employees or how this law affects you. To help you understand, our small business accountants in Raleigh are providing a more in-depth look.
What Is the Notice of Coverage Options?
One ACA deadline that small business owners might not be aware of is the mandate to provide a Notice of Coverage Options letter to employees. According to the mandate, businesses must inform all employees via written communication of the existence of state health insurance exchanges/marketplaces. These marketplaces are designed to facilitate the procurement of insurance coverage for those workers not receiving such benefits from their employers or for those individuals wishing to change insurance providers.
Any company governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (i.e. any business that engages in interstate commerce, has one or more employees, and generates sales in excess of $500,000) is obligated to provide a Notice of Coverage Options letter by October 1, 2013.
The Department of Labor has stipulated that employers address the following points in the notice:
- The availability of the marketplace
- A brief description of the services provided by the marketplace
- Information about how to request assistance for using the marketplace
- The possibility of employees forfeiting employer contributions to the employer's health plan if an alternative health plan is purchased through the marketplace
- The possibility of receiving a premium tax credit for qualified marketplace health plan purchases
Notices may be delivered through first-class mail or dispatched electronically to employees who use computers as part of their routine duties. Sample notices are provided on the Department of Labor website.
Although there is no official penalty for failure to comply with the mandate, we advise you to send a notice to all eligible employees as soon as possible in order to protect yourself against potential liability claims stemming from noncompliance.
You can read more about the Notice of Coverage Options mandate by visiting https://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq-noticeofcoverageoptions.html.
Schedule a Consultation with a Small Business Accountant in Raleigh
We understand that these changes from the ACA can be confusing and overwhelming. If you're unsure of how these affect your business, we're here to help. Reach out to one of our experienced small business accountant in Raleigh today by calling us at 919-420-0092 or fill out our contact form.