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Employers

September 17, 2013

Important Information to Help WPE Employers Meet
Marketplace Notice Federal Requirement

Employers must provide federal Marketplace (formerly Exchange) Notices to every employee prior to October 1, 2013. While the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) has no administrative responsibility with this notice, we are providing this information to assist you in following federal guidelines. Direct employee questions to the valuable Healthcare.gov website, or they may call 1-800-318-2596.

Employees who are eligible for health insurance will get the Marketplace Notice in the It’s Your Choice 2014 Reference Guide in the State and Federal Notification sections starting on Page 11. (The It's Your Choice Guides will be available online on September 27, 2013; paper books will be in employer’s hands prior to October 1.)

However, the federal Marketplace Notice must be sent to all employees, including those who are not eligible for health insurance, and you must track receipt. Therefore, in addition to sending the federal notice with a cover letter to employees who are ineligible for health insurance, you may want to send a duplicate notice to those who will be receiving an It’s Your Choice 2014 Reference Guide to be certain that all employees receive notification.

Information outlined below, as well as the links, may help you with the Marketplace Notice. Note, new employees hired after October 1 must receive the notice within 14 days of the employee’s hire date.

Who must receive the notice?

All employees without exception. This includes those who are ineligible or not enrolled in the Wisconsin Public Employers Group Health Insurance Program.

Who does not have to receive the notice?

Employee’s dependents, retirees and COBRA/continuation participants. (ETF’s updated COBRA/Continuation-Conversion Notice (ET-2311 rev. 9/13), which will be available by October 1, 2013, complies with the federal Marketplace Notice requirement.)

Documents to be provided to the employee:

  • A federal model notice form “New Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options and Your Health Insurance” (Find the Model Notice on the Department of Labor website, under Affordable Care Act Regulations and Guidance, Notice to Employees of Coverage Options under the second bullet, Model Notice, MS Word Format)
  • Standard cover letter (sample linked).
  • If an employee requests it, employers must complete Part B of the federal Marketplace Notice. The linked definition sheet may assist you in defining eligible dependents. The Wisconsin Public Employers Group Health Insurance Program meets the Minimum Value Standard, so the two boxes on that topic can be checked affirmatively.

How should employees be notified per federal guidelines?

Electronic Delivery: The notice may be delivered electronically if the employee has access to a computer (i.e. the Internet) on a routine basis as part of his or her job that would enable him or her to access the documents at work. Making a computer kiosk generally available is not adequate. In addition, if the employee has access to the employer’s computer system through a home office and the office is a location where employment duties are performed and access to the employer’s computer system is an integral part of the employee’s duties, electronic notice is acceptable.

Employers distributing the cover letter and Marketplace Notice electronically should incorporate the following as part of their electronic distribution procedures:

  • Develop a list of all employees and then use that list to match against their file of employee e-mail addresses.
  • Verify the list and then send the employee an e-mail with the link to the cover letter and notice. Employers should send the email with a “return receipt.” This will establish a record of when the employee opened the e-mail.
  • Employers must retain the list of employees who received an electronic copy. For each employee who receives an e-mail message, the employer should receive a "reject" notice if the e-mail address is no longer in existence.

Note: Paper copies must be given to employees who receive the electronic distribution but request a hard copy.

  • Paper Delivery: For employees who do not meet the above criteria for electronic delivery, a paper notice is required. In addition, employees not expected to be actively at work on October 1, 2013 must be provided a paper notice. Paper copies may be provided by first-class mail, hand-delivered to the employee or delivered to the employee’s work mailbox if it can be reliably assumed that the employee will receive it by October 1. The notice may be printed from the federal website described under documents to be provided to the employee. Employers should retain a list of the employees who received a paper notice.

  • Follow-up Delivery: Any “undeliverable” or “out-of-office” e-mails should be followed by either a second attempt to deliver to a corrected or alternate e-mail address, or the transmission of a paper notice. Any returned first-class mail should prompt an effort to verify the employee’s address and resend the notice and cover letter. You should maintain a record of these secondary attempts. These actions should be taken as soon as possible and prior to October 1 if at all feasible.
  • New Hires: Employers will not necessarily need to maintain a tracking spreadsheet on a permanent, ongoing basis for new hires. Instead, employers may implement a standardized process to provide notice to new employees to ensure new hires receive the notice within 14 days of an employee’s hire date. However, individualized tracking would provide the strongest evidence of compliance in the event of a federal audit.

Additional Information:

Healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.

 

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