Despite the much ballyhooed claim that the Obama administration will not enforce employer reporting requirements for another year, Department of Labor regulations still require employers to do free marketing for the health exchanges by October 1, 2013. News reports originally said that employers who failed to comply would face fines of $100 per employee per day. But for now they have been stayed by a “Frequently Asked Questions” post on the Department of Labor website.
According to Department of Labor Technical Release No. 2013-02, issued May 8, 2013, employees must inform full and part-time employees and subsequent new hires about the health exchanges. The notice may be in writing or electronic, provided the electronic notice meets Department of Labor safe harbor requirements. The model notice for employers who do not provide health coverage is here. The model notice for employers who do offer health coverage is here. Updated COBRA notices are also required.
The requirement even applies to employers who are not required to offer health insurance because they have fewer than 50 employees. In general, any employer of one or more people that participates in interstate commerce and has annual revenues of $500,000 must comply. It also applies to any business providing resident care for the sick, the aged, the mentally ill, or the disabled, most schools both public and private, and institutions of higher education.
The elimination of potential fines joins the employer reporting mandate in the group of ObamaCare regulatory modifications that have been randomly announced in obscure corners of departmental web sites. Coupled with the administration’s willingness to rely on the honor system for granting subsidies through the health benefits exchanges, state run or not, it is clear that Nancy Pelosi was wrong. Even though we have passed ObamaCare, this administration’s penchant for running it by blog post and FAQ virtually ensures that we will never really know what is in it.