A major deadline for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the healthcare reform law also known as Obamacare, is coming up fast. If a recruiter has even one employee, they will likely have to comply.
The ACA requires employers to provide employees with a notice about coverage options available through the Marketplace, which was created by the ACA to provide an online “one-stop-shop” for individuals to compare private health insurance options.
Starting on October 1, employers must provide the notice to new employees. In addition, it must be distributed to all existing employees by October 1. The notice must inform employees:
- The Marketplace will be available starting January 1, 2014.
- What services the Marketplace will provide and how to contact it.
- They may be eligible for premium tax credits if their employer doesn’t offer a plan that provides “minimum value” and that is “affordable,” as defined by the ACA.
- They may lose their employer’s healthcare contribution (if applicable) if they choose to purchase insurance through the Marketplace.
A common misconception about Obamacare is that employers only have to worry about it if they have 50 or more employees. This stems from the law’s employer mandate which will require employers with 50 or more employee to provide healthcare starting in 2015. But even the smallest employers, including recruiting firms that have any in-house employees or contractors on their payroll, have responsibilities under the ACA.
This required notice is perhaps the best example. The ACA actually created this provision as an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). So if you are subject to the FLSA, as almost every employer is, you must comply with this provision regardless of whether you offer employees insurance. If you are not sure if the FLSA applies to you, you can find out by visiting http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/scope/screen24.asp
Fortunately, you don’t have to write this notice from scratch. The Department of Labor provides Model Notices for employers who offer a healthcare plan and employers who do not offer a healthcare plan.
Regardless of your firm’s size, it is important that you stay on top of the developments surrounding the healthcare reform law. Not only could there be implications for you as an employer, but your clients may also look to you for answers to their staffing issues that may arise as a result of Obamacare.