The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, set a March 1 deadline requiring employers to provide employees written notices about online exchanges that will allow them to buy health care insurance.
But credit union HR managers can breathe a little sigh of relief. That March 1 deadline has been extended to late summer or early fall, said Brad Pricer, senior manager for Employee Benefits Product Management at CUNA Mutual Group in Madison, Wis.
“Employers will not have to comply (with the March 1 deadline) until final regulations are issued and a final effective date is specified,” said Pricer. “The U.S. Department of Labor expects the timing for distribution of notices will be late summer or fall, which will coordinate with the open enrollment period for the health care exchanges. Future guidance on complying with the notice requirement is expected to provide flexibility and adequate time to comply.”
Under the PPACA, health care exchanges will come online in 2014 to offer health care insurance plans for individuals who need to buy insurance on their own and for small businesses with up to 100 employees.
The health care exchanges are being set up by the states or the federal government. Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia have decided to coordinate health care exchanges or health care partnership exchanges, according the Kaiser Family Foundation, a research and analysis organization. In 26 states, the federal government will organize health care exchanges.
Whenever the new deadline will be announced, the Obamacare provision will require employers to:
- Inform employees about the existence of health care exchanges and give a description of the services provided;
- Explain how employees may be eligible for a premium tax credit or a cost-sharing reduction if the employer's plan does not meet certain requirements;
- Inform employees that if they purchase coverage through the health care exchange, they may lose any employer contribution toward the cost of employer-provided coverage, and that all or a portion of the employer contribution to employer-provided coverage may be excludable for federal income tax purposes; and,
- Include contact information for the health care exchange and an explanation of appeal rights.