On September 11, 2013, the United States Department of Labor announced that employers will not be fined or penalized under the Affordable Care Act for failing to provide employees with notice about coverage options available through the ACA’s Health Insurance Marketplace (Exchanges). This comes just weeks before the October 1, 2013 deadline for employers to begin providing the notice to their employees.
The announcement, which was posted on the DOL’s website as a “FAQ on Notice of Coverage Options,” states:
Q: Can an employer be fined for failing to provide employees with notice about the Affordable Care Act’s new Health Insurance Marketplace?
- No. If your company is covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, it should provide a written notice to its employees about the Health Insurance Marketplace by October 1, 2013, but there is no fine or penalty under the law for failing to provide the notice.
A day later, the U.S. Small Business Administration posted similar information on its website.
This announcement comes as a surprise to those who assumed that noncompliance would be met with a fine or penalty. Though the ACA’s employer notice requirement does not contain a specific penalty provision, many assumed that the ACA’s general penalty of $100 per day would apply. And, since news of the DOL’s position came informally through its website rather than the formal regulatory process, some believe that fines or penalties for noncompliance remain a possibility in the future.
This new development has understandably left many employers unsure about how to deal with the ACA’s employer notice requirement. Though it is still the law, the DOL’s announcement has undoubtedly left many wondering whether a requirement can really exist without consequences.
At Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk, we are committed to guiding you through the constantly changing health care reform landscape. Check back with us periodically for future informational updates about the Affordable Care Act.
If you have specific questions about the Act or if you are ready to take action and would like to see how Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk can help, view our health product page.
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