October 1st Deadline Looms For Affordable Care Act Compliance

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The clock is ticking for U.S. businesses with more than $500,000 in annual revenues to comply with a new requirement created by Section 1512 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This requirement mandates that employers provide a notice to employees of coverage options available through the Health Insurance Marketplace (i.e. “Exchange”) no later than Oct. 1, 2013, which is just a couple weeks away. Scott Beaver, president of COBRA Solutions, Inc., a leader in employee benefits software, is an expert in health care required notices. His firm developed a list of tips to assist employers in meeting the Oct. 1st notification requirement, as well as the Marketplace Notice Manager software package to simplify the process. Industrial Distribution Had a chance to ask Scott a couple of questions concerning the deadline, and we are also able to share COBRA Solutions tips for managing the deadline below.

ID: What does this upcoming October 1st deadline mean to business owners/managers?

Scott Beaver: The October 1st deadline to notify employees of coverage options available through the Health Insurance Marketplace is an important one. Employers with more than $500,000 in annual sales are required by the Fair Labor Standards Act to send the “Marketplace Notice” to all employees (regardless of part-time status and benefit eligibility). This notice may be used to determine if an employee is eligible for government subsidized rates on the Health Insurance Marketplace website.

ID: Should businesses not comply, what are the consequences awaiting them?

Scott Beaver: Although the law does not specifically state noncompliance penalties, it is understood the FLSA or IRS can access financial penalties. Other laws, such as COBRA, have a $100 per day per employee penalty for notification violations.

Tips for Complying With the Oct. 1, 2013 Marketplace Notice Requirement

1) Determine if your organization generates more than $500,000 in annual revenues and is required to send the “Marketplace Notice.” You can utilize the Dept. of Labor’s website to help make that determination: http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/scope/screen24.asp

2) If required to comply, develop a spreadsheet of employees where you can track all health insurance data and mandatory Marketplace Notices to be sent.

3) Visit the Dept. of Labor’s website to review the Model Notices to determine what data is needed: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform/index.html

4) Gather and input data required on spreadsheet and produce the Marketplace Notice to send to your employees.

5) Create a report detailing each employee’s Marketplace Notice for your organization’s records.

6) Retain a digital copy of each employee’s notice that may be easily obtained if ever needed as proof of compliance.

7) Streamline the process by using software such as the Marketplace Notice Manager.

Scott Beaver founded COBRA Solutions, Inc. in 1989. In addition to overseeing the company, Mr. Beaver directs all new product development for employee benefits software solutions. Before establishing COBRA Solutions, Mr. Beaver garnered experience in the health insurance industry through his work with CIGNA, where he was a Marketing Executive in the Sales Division. Mr. Beaver received his Bachelor of Science degree in business, with a major in marketing, from Arizona State University.  

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