On Wednesday, May 8, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor issued two model notices that employers will need to begin to use on October 1, 2013:

  • A model notice to new hires of the health coverage options on Federal and State Exchanges (now referred to as "Health Insurance Marketplace"). Click here to view model notice.
  • A new COBRA Notice to be used after October 1, telling those first eligible for continuation of employer coverage due to an employment change, that they have alternative coverage options on the Health Insurance Marketplace. Click here to view model notice.

Two versions of the Model Notice regarding the Health Insurance Marketplace are available—one for employers who provide health coverage, and another for employers who do not.  To complete the Notice before using it, employers who offer health coverage will need to first determine whether the coverage they offer meets the "minimum value" standard (i.e., is designed to cover at least 60 % of health costs) and designed to be affordable based on employee wages.  There is also an optional section to this form to add employee-specific information that corresponds to what an employee will need to complete in order to apply for Health Insurance Marketplace coverage. 

For the COBRA Notices changes, the DOL site includes a redline version of the changes in this election notice as compared to the former model the DOL proposed. Since the COBRA notice requires quite a bit of personalization by employers, this will make it easier for employers to update the forms they now use.