Reminder about FMLA Notices
Regardless of employer size, remember that wage and hour laws require employers to give an ACA notice to new employees within 14 days of starting work. The notice describes ACA Exchanges and the availability of federal assistance to persons without access to other affordable insurance meeting ACA standards. There is a model form for employers without health plans and a model form for those with plans. Posting is not enough. Use first class mail or electronic communication that meets ERISA standards. If you forgot to do this for your existing workforce, give them copies, too. DOL Tech. Release 2013-02.
Updated COBRA Notices and Forms
The DOL has updated its model initial and election notices to point out that individual ACA policies are an alternative to COBRA, and that the loss of employer coverage triggers a special 60-day ACA enrollment period to buy policies through an Exchange. They also point to a quirk in the rules that employees who elect COBRA cannot shift to an ACA policy until (i) the COBRA period is exhausted, or (ii) they are in an ACA open enrollment period or a special enrollment period due to an event like childbirth. This required disclosure not only leads most former employees to a less expensive solution than COBRA, it also leads to a good result for employers, especially those with self-insured or experience rated coverage, because COBRA beneficiaries often incur higher claims.
Note: The new notices and forms are on the DOL COBRA website.