Employers are required to give all new hires a Notice of Marketplace Coverage Options – often referred to as the Employer Exchange Notice. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provides model notices that employers can download, customize, and distribute to workers. Although the model notices were scheduled to expire May 31, 2017, the DOL has now extended them without any changes through May 31, 2020.
Here are a few quick reminders for employers:
- Distribute the notice to all employees within 14 days of hire:
- Include all employees (i.e., full-time, part-time, seasonal, temporary, union, and others), regardless of whether eligible for health coverage at work.
- Disregard dependents, retirees, former employees, or COBRA beneficiaries.
- Model notices are posted on the DOL website (see below). There are two versions: one for employers that offer health coverage to some or all employees and the other for employers that do not have any group plans.
- Notices are available in English and Spanish. Although non-English notices are not specifically required, general DOL guidance refers to providing notices “in a manner calculated to be understood by the average employee.”
- Download the model notice, then fill in the blanks and variable items as needed. Links are provided below.
- Distribute the completed notice by first-class mail to the employees’ homes. Alternatively, employers may use electronic delivery if the method meet all DOL guidelines:
- The delivery method ensures actual receipt (such as via email directly to the employee instead of merely posting the material on the company intranet);
- The employee regularly accesses the electronic media as an integral part of his or her regular job duties; and
- The employer notifies the employee of the significance of the material and that a paper copy is available at no cost upon request.
Note: A small employer that is not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) may be exempt from the notice requirement if it is not a hospital, care facility, school or governmental agency.
The DOL model notices are available below. There are separate versions for employers that offer health coverage to some or all employees and employers that do not offer any health coverage. The model notices contain blank and variable items that must be completed by the employer before distributing to employees.