Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google Plus RSS

Obamacare catching employers unaware of notification requirements

By ,

Employers have to notify workers by Oct. 1 about the new health insurance marketplace the federal government is creating under the Affordable Care Act, where individuals who qualify will get federal subsides to help them buy coverage.

Experts said many employers are unaware that federal law requires them to either mail or email notices about the marketplace, which is supposed to go live Oct. 1. On that date, individuals can go to healthcare.gov and find out how much health insurance plans cost and whether they qualify for a subsidy.

The government said it won’t impose penalties on employers who don’t fail to meet the Oct. 1 deadline to send out the notice — and some experts said the lack of a penalty may result in less compliance.

John Sarno, president of the Employers Association of New Jersey, said he has been keeping his more than 1,000 members aware of the Oct. 1 notice requirement, and nearly all his members offer health insurance.

“About half of the small employers in New Jersey don’t offer health insurance, and most of the uninsured work for a small employer that don’t offer insurance,” Sarno said. “Obviously, those small employers need to be giving this notice to their workers, because these workers need health care. Yet small employers are the least likely to give the notice, either because there is no penalty or they are just simply misinformed.”

Attorney Anu Gogna, of Day Pitney, said employers have to provide this notice to all their employees — full time, part time and seasonal — regardless of whether they are eligible for the company’s health plan.

He urged employers to get the notice out to employees. Gogna said workers need to know whether a federally subsidized health plan from the marketplace is a better deal than their employer’s plan.

“Employees need to make an informed decision about whether they want to enroll in their employer plan or go on the (marketplace) and see what is better for them,” Gogna said. Although there’s no penalty, “that does not mean the employer should not comply, because there are other potential risks with not sending out the notice,” he said.

RELATED:

Suppose the employer’s plan is very expensive, and the employee could get a better deal on the marketplace. In such a case, “You don’t want those employees coming back later and saying, ‘Hey, you didn’t send me this notice, I enrolled in your plan, it’s more expensive, and I didn’t know I had the option’ ” to buy subsidized coverage, Gogna said.

The result might be litigation from employees who missed out on a chance to get affordable coverage on the marketplace.

Gogna said failure to notify could mean adverse consequences to the employees — if they wind up without coverage, they may have to pay a penalty for not complying with the ACA, which requires most Americans to get health coverage by 2014.

“You don’t want employees coming back later and saying ‘if I had known I could have gone on the” marketplace, he said.

Christine Stearns, vice president of health and legal affairs at the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, said, “For the most part, small-business owners are as confused as the general public about the ACA. Many employers are just becoming aware of their obligations, including the notice requirement.”

She advises employers “to comply and not let the lack of penalties be misunderstood.” Compliance is “the wise course to avoid the risk of being vulnerable to litigation or penalties down the road.”

Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald reports on health care, small business and higher education. She joined NJBIZ in 2008 after a 34-year career at the Star-Ledger and has been reporting on business in New Jersey since 1978. Her email is beth@njbiz.com and she is @bethfitzgerald8 on Twitter.

Related Stories

• Savient Pharmaceuticals files for bankruptcy• Accountants group, feeling undergraduates are not being taught properly, launches Competency Crisis website• 'Our clients are just regrettably confused' adviser says of Obamacare• Merck to cut 8,500 jobs; will move HQ to Kenilworth, not Summit, as previously announced• What you — and your employees — need to know about the Affordable Care Act• For hospitals, Obamacare rollout makes readmission penalties a top-of-mind priority• For N.J. lawmakers in Trenton and Washington, a front-row seat to bumpy Obamacare rollout• Firms call Washington 'an inconsistent business partner' as shutdown looms• In Camden, hoping more cops means more economic growth• First glimpse of Obamacare pricing in N.J. has experts cautiously optimistic• Montclair State breaks ground on $121M construction project• N.J. senator to introduce crowdfunding bill to speed benefits under JOBS Act• Gain Capital completes $73M acquisition of GFT• Weichert Commercial renews 159,000-square-foot industrial lease• Pioneer Power completes public offering• BCB Bancorp announces dividend• Obamacare reality: Not everyone is required to have health insurance• NJBIA to Fulop: Paid sick-leave proposal will hurt Jersey City's businesses• Vikings owners face $84.5M fine in N.J. case• Merger with Albany company puts Sax Macy among top 100 U.S. CPA firms• NJ electric utilities will start handing over key data to state BPU• Realtors' association launches database to improve housing tracking• New Jersey sees illegal immigration rebound as economy recovers: study• Sun National rolls out mobile payment system for small businesses• NJBIZ most-read stories: September 23• Atlantic City launches new ad campaign for fall tourism: 'It's Different'• Toys 'R' Us to add 45,000 holiday jobs• Groundbreaking held for NY-NJ rail tunnel work• Super Bowl 2014: Pending N.J. bill would ban sale of restricted tickets• Christie administration will sue owners of Fenimore Landfill today, sources say• Sounding alarm in Jersey City as banking sector's footprint starts to shrink• Hospital CEOs: Formation of huge alliance not a precursor to merger• Three of N.J. biggest health systems announce alliance with Pa. hospitals as Obamacare deadlines near

Leave a Comment

test

Please note: All comments will be reviewed and may take up to 24 hours to appear on the site.

Post Comment
View Comment Policy

Comments

close
Subscribe to Our Newsletters!
Click Here to Subscribe for Free Now!