Before the east coast started digging out from under all the snow this week, the Department of Labor published the Model Notice for Employers to Use Regarding Eligibility for Premium Assistance Under Medicaid or CHIP.

By way of background, on February 4, 2009, President Obama signed the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009. CHIPRA includes a requirement that the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services develop a model notice for employers to use to inform employees of potential opportunities currently available in the State in which the employee resides for group health plan premium assistance under Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The EBSA Notice providing explanations of the required content of the notice is available here. The DOL's model notice is available here.

An employer that maintains a group health plan in a State that provides medical assistance under a State Medicaid plan under title XIX of the Social Security Act (SSA), or child health assistance under a State child health plan under title XXI of the SSA, in the form of premium assistance for the purchase of coverage under a group health plan, is required to make certain disclosures. Specifically, the employer is required to notify each employee of potential opportunities currently available in the State in which the employee resides for premium assistance under Medicaid and CHIP for health coverage of the employee or the employee's dependents. These notices are referred to as ``Employer CHIP Notices''.

If a group health plan provides benefits for medical care directly (such as through a health maintenance organization); or through insurance, reimbursement or otherwise to participants, beneficiaries, or providers in one of these States, the plan is required to provide the Employer CHIP Notice, regardless of the employer's location or principal place of business (or the location or principal place of business of the group health plan, its administrator, its insurer, or any other service provider affiliated with the employer or the plan).

An Employer CHIP Notice must inform each employee, regardless of enrollment status, of potential opportunities for premium assistance in the State in which the employee resides. The State is which the employee resides may or may not be the same as the State in which the employer, the employer's principal place of business, the health plan, its insurer, or other service providers are located.