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ACA Update: Employee Notification of Public Exchange Plans

We’ve been getting questions from employers and agents alike about the Affordable Care Act requirement that, beginning March 1, 2013, makes employers responsible for educating their employees about public exchange plan options. The requirement applies to employers in general, whether using a fully insured or self-funded health plan.

This week the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued an FAQ delaying the enforcement date because specific exchange information is simply not available yet/ In their notice, DOL stated the new date for informing employees will likely be late summer or fall 2013, to coincide with the Open Enrollment Period for exchanges.

We will keep you aware of developments in this employer requirement.

Form W-2 Guidance

ACA requires employers report the aggregate cost of employer-sponsored health coverage on employees’ Form W-2s. The reporting is for informational purposes to show employees the value of their health care benefits.

The IRS website provides specific guidance and a chart depicting the who, what, when, where, and how of reporting health care benefit value. For instance, the reporting requirement is optional for employers filing fewer than 250 Form W-2s, until further IRS guidance is issued. We recommend employers consult with a trusted tax professional regarding this and any other tax matter.