One provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
that has been littled noticed up until now will require employers to let
employees know about the state exchange system by March 1, 2013.
The PPACA exchange notice provision will require employers to give
all new hires and current employees with a written notice telling the
employees about the existence of the exchange program, according to the
text of PPACA.
Employers must also inform the employees that employees might be
eligible for a premium tax credit or a discount on health coverage
cost-sharing provisions even if the employer offers a health plan but
the health plan fails to meet PPACA group coverage standards.
The employers also must tell the employees that employees who buy
their own coverage through the exchange system, rather than sticking
with the group plan, will lose access to employer contributions toward
the cost of coverage.
“Sources within the [Obama] administration have begun indicating that
the effective date will probably be delayed,” according to the HR Policy Association, a group for chief human resource officers.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S.
Labor Department have not yet published exchange notice guidelines, and
HHS is still in the process of determining which states might try to
offer their own exchanges, which might work with HHS to start exchanges,
and which might depend on HHS to provide exchange services.
Sara Collins and Tracy Garber of the Commnwealth Fund are reporting
that 18 states and the District of Columbia are hoping to run a state-run exchange
in 2014. In addition to the District of Columbia, those jurisdictions
are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky,
Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, New
York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Utah, and Washington.
States that want to run their own exchanges were supposed to let HHS know by Dec. 14.
States have more time to say whether they will run partnership
exchanges. The states that appear to be planning to operate partnership
exchanges are Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina, and
West Virginia, according to Collins and Garber.
Some states that want to run their own state exchanges, such as
California and Maryland, have already hired major exchange system
vendors, but others are still developing requests for proposals.