Temporary Guidance on the Employees Notice of Exchange Options

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On May 8, 2013, the Department of Labor (DOL) provided temporary guidance and model notices that employers can use to inform their employees about the Exchanges. The original deadline for these notices was March 1, 2013, and has since been changed to October 1, 2013, to coincide with the Exchange Marketplace open enrollment period. Employers are not required to provide notices under the temporary guidance and can wait until formal guidance is provided later this year.

Note: HHS now calls the Exchange the “Health Insurance Marketplace” and the DOL refers to the notice as the “Employee Notice of Coverage Options.”

Impacted Employers

The notice requirement applies to all employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). There are some exceptions, however: http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/scope/screen24.asp

Recipient and Distribution Requirements

  • This one-time notice must be provided to all current employees as of October 1, 2013 and new employees that are hired-within 14 days of their start date.
  • Must be provided to all full and part-time employees, regardless of whether the employee is enrolled in an employer-sponsored plan.
  • Must be provided even if the employer does not offer health coverage to employees.
  • Notices must be in writing and can be delivered electronically.

What Must Be Included in the Notice:

Two version of the model notice:

1. For employers that DO offer medical coverage to all or some of their employees

2. For employers that DO NOT offer medical coverage to employees

Employers can use the model or create their own as long as it includes the required information below:

  • Verbiage that the Exchange/Marketplace exists including a description of the services it provides and direction on where to get more information
  • Employees may be eligible for a subsidy if their employer does not offer affordable coverage that provides minimum value-and what those values are.
  • Employees that purchase coverage through the Exchange/Marketplace will pay for that coverage with after-tax dollars.
  • If available, information about the medical coverage the employer offers to its employees

Cobra Notices

The model Cobra notice that employers and COBRA administrators use have been revised to include information about the Marketplace.


Read the notices:

Department of Labor Technical Release

Notice for Employers that DO offer coverage

Notice for Employers that DO NOT offer coverage

Revised COBRA notice

Review ERISA standards for electronic delivery


What kind of administrative challenges do you face, if any, in providing this notice to employees? Share your thoughts!