Employers to provide health exchange notice by Oct. 1 - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Employers must provide health exchange notice to employees by Oct. 1

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Another deadline is fast approaching under the new health care law.

By Oct. 1, employers must notify their staff members about the existence of the new health insurance exchanges, inform employees they may be eligible for a tax credit if the plan has a certain cost and lastly, employers must notify the employees they may lose employer contributions to health benefits plan if they decide to purchase from the marketplace.

If an employee starts after the Oct. 1 deadline, the employer must notify the employee within 14 days after his or her start date.

Although the U.S. Department of Labor no longer will pursue a penalty on employers failing to comply, businesses still should take the deadline seriously, explained Katherine Capito, a Charleston Dinsmore attorney and Tyler Williams, from Dinsmore's Columbus office.

"It's still good advice to comply with the law, regardless of there being no fines," Williams said.

Capito said not providing notice could trigger an audit or additional Department of Labor enforcement and a review of the employer's plan.

Both attorneys explained the Department of Labor provides model notices that employers must provide. Williams said the notice has to be provided in writing.

"You can't merely orally notify your employees," Williams said.

The notice requirement is for businesses subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act, Capito said. Capito explained this act applies to all employers engaged in interstate commerce grossing more than $500,000 annually— even if it's just one person making $500,000 in annual revenue.

The attorneys also explained the act covers businesses that do not gross more than $500,000. Capito and Williams said it applies to businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees not subject to the health care law's employer mandate.

Other approaching deadlines under the Affordable Care Act include open enrollment for the marketplace, which starts Oct. 1; the individual mandate, starting in January and the employer mandate, going into effect in January 2015.