By now, employers like you all across the country are well aware of the Affordable Care Act. Many are still trying to understand the law and determine how it impacts them. While small employers with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees aren’t required to offer healthcare coverage to their employees, and large employers get an extra year to implement, you’re not off the hook just yet.
There are requirements that need to be met by Oct. 1 (or Jan. 1, 2014) that you can’t ignore.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Most employers must notify every employee of their healthcare options by Oct. 1.
- All non-grandfathered plans must begin covering the 10 essential health benefits effective Jan. 1, 2015.
- Preventive services must now be offered with no cost-sharing (deductible/copay/coinsurance) to employees in non-grandfathered group health plans.
1.Notice of Coverage or Exchange Notification
Every employer that is subject to the FLSA must notify all of their employees of their health insurance options for Jan. 1 no later than Oct. 1. This means, employers with 10 employees or 10,000 employees have to notify every employee. The penalty for skipping this notification can be up to $100 per worker per day.
The government is suggesting these notifications be sent via first-class mail or delivered electronically (in a manner that complies with Department of Labor safe harbor disclosure standards).
When you hire new employees after Oct. 1, you have only 14 days to notify that employee.
2. Essential Health Benefits
A few months ago, we wrote about the 10 essential health benefits. As of Jan. 1, all non-grandfathered plans must start covering these benefits. The list includes:
- Ambulatory patient services
- Emergency services
- Maternity and newborn care
- Mental health and substance use disorder services including behavioral health treatment
- Prescription drugs
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
- Laboratory services
- Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
- Pediatric services, including oral and vision care.
3. Preventive Services Available without Cost Sharing
Starting Jan. 1, 2015, your group health plan must start offering preventive services to your employees without charging a deductible or copay/coinsurance. Grandfathered plans are usually exempt from this.
Some of the most common preventive services are:
- Well-woman visits
- Screening for gestational diabetes
- Screening for sexually transmitted diseases
- Well baby visits
- And others. View the whole list.
Don’t Miss these Deadlines
It’s important to hit these deadlines or you could incur hefty fines along the way.
We want to hear from you. Employers, what questions do you have about Obamacare?