Foodservice Equipment Reports

Oct. 1 Healthcare Deadline Nears, But Government Fines Are Not Looming

In what will likely come as a relief to many small businesses, employers will not face a penalty if they fail to inform their workers by Oct. 1 about changes under the 2010 healthcare law, the Obama administration said last week.

Under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, employers are required to notify employees by Oct. 1 about the new health insurance marketplaces created by the law, which will start enrolling millions of Americans beginning on that date.

Employers also are required to inform employees that they may be able to get lower-cost insurance on the exchanges, but if they buy insurance on the exchange, they may lose their employer contribution.

Media reports have said that many small businesses had been unaware of the requirement and, therefore, were at risk of potential penalties. A notice posted on the Department of Labor's website on Sept. 11 said employers cannot be fined for failing to provide such notice.

“If your company is covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, it should provide a written notice to its employees about the Health Insurance Marketplace by October 1, 2013, but there is no fine or penalty under the law for failing to provide the notice,” the Labor Department said, under the heading “FAQ on Notice of Coverage Options.”

Businesses covered by the FLSA have annual sales of at least $500,000.

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