DOL Delays PPACA’s Notice Of Coverage Options Requirement Until Late Summer Or Fall 2013

On January 24, 2013, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced that it is delaying PPACA’s requirement that all employers provide their employees with information about the availability of health insurance and premium tax credits through an insurance Exchange. PPACA provides that the Notices were to be distributed by March 1, 2013 but, as has been widely anticipated, the DOL has delayed the requirement, announcing that it anticipates implementing the requirement in late summer or fall of 2013. The announcement states that the DOL is “committed to a smooth implementation process including providing employers with sufficient time to comply” with the Notice provision. Additionally, the DOL noted that the Notices will be more useful to employees in the fall, as that will coordinate with the open enrollment period for Exchanges. The DOL did not commit to when it will issue specific guidance and a new deadline, but did state that it will provide “adequate time to comply.”

PPACA contemplates that each state will create a health insurance Exchange, but about half the states, including Tennessee and Georgia, have opted not to create an Exchange. The federal government will create and operate Exchanges where there is no state-run Exchange, but so far it is unclear how or when the federal government will get these Exchanges up and running in time for the planned October 2013 open-enrollment period.

Stay tuned for information on this and other employer requirements as it becomes available.