By October 1, 2013, most employers will be required to provide their current employees and new hires with notices of health insurance options.  The notice is required to, among other things, inform employees of the existence of the health insurance marketplace created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA” a/k/a “Obamacare”) and to provide information concerning the employer’s health insurance plan. The United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) has recently issued the model notice forms for employers offering health insurance and employers who do not offer health insurance.

These notices are required by an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), which was created by the ACA.  Because the notice requirements fall under the FLSA, they apply to any employer who is subject to the FLSA, regardless of whether that employer is a large employer subject to shared responsibility requirements under the ACA.  Our recent articles on the shared responsibility requirements can be found here and here.

Of note, some of the required information the model notices require an employer to have determined the status of its plan under the ACA’s shared responsibility rules and whether it will comply (or not comply with those rules and pay the applicable penalties i.e. “play or pay”).

The model notices are another reminder that employers need to be proactive in determining their obligations, if any, under the ACA and whether they will play or pay if they are subject to the shared responsibility requirements.