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Department of Labor (DOL) Notice Updates

On May 8, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued Technical Release No. 2013-02, announcing an updated model election notice that plans must provide to inform departing employees about continued health care coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). The COBRA Model Election Notice was revised to inform qualified beneficiaries of coverage options available through government-run health care exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The DOL is now referring to these exchanges collectively as “the Marketplace.” The exchanges—which may be run by individual states, by the federal government on behalf of states or by states in partnership with the federal government—are scheduled to launch in October 2013. Flexible Benefit Administrators, Inc. has already begun updating our notices to be ready for October 1st effective dates.

     The release also announced that the DOL has issued long-awaited temporary guidance and a temporary Model Notice to Employees of Coverage Options about the soon-to-launch exchanges, as required under Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) section 18B. The exchange notification, which must be provided to current and all newly hired employees starting no later than Oct. 1, 2013, is one of many health care reform requirements that may have fallen below the radar of many employers. Employers may use one of these models or a modified version, provided the notice meets the content requirements described above. It must be provided to each employee, regardless of plan-enrollment status or part-time or full-time status. Employers are not required to provide a separate notice to dependents or other individuals who are or may become eligible for coverage under the plan but who are not employees.