Notice of Marketplaces

One of the responsibilities employers have under the Affordable Care Act is to notify employees about the health insurance marketplaces that will open in October 2013.

Employers of all sizes are required to provide the notification to employees at time of hire. The notice has to go to full-time and part-time employees. For all current employees, the original notification deadline was March 1, 2013. However the Department of Labor (DOL) changed that deadline to no later than October 1, 2013, to coincide with the initial open enrollment period for the marketplace. 

The written notification has to do three things:

  1. Tell employees about the marketplace, including a description of the services provided and how they can contact the marketplace if they need help;
  2. State whether the employer offers a health plan that meets the minimum value standard. To meet the minimum value standard, the total allowed benefits costs covered by the lowest-cost plan the employer offers must be no less than 60 percent. If a plan does not meet the standard, the notification has to tell employees that they may be eligible for a premium tax credit if they purchase a qualified health plan through the marketplace; and
  3. Explain that if the employee purchases a qualified health plan through the marketplace, 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.

The DOL has released model notices that employers can use to meet the requirement. There are versions for:

A COBRA Model Election Notice is available here. It is listed as the third bullet under "For Employers and Advisers" on the page.