October 1 marks not only the date that insurance exchanges (“Marketplaces”) open under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but also the date by which certain employers are required to provide their employees notice of coverage options available through the Marketplaces. Covered employers are those with at least one employee and at least five hundred thousand dollars in business volume. (“Business volume” for a REALTOR® association includes dues payments, income from sale of items to members, and, subscription fees and dues for Association operated MLSs.)
The notice should inform employees about the health insurance Marketplace; that, depending on their income and the coverage offered by the employer, they may find lower cost private insurance in the Marketplace; and that if they buy insurance through the Marketplace, they may lose the employer contribution (if any) to their health benefits. Sample notices are available on the Department of Labor (DOL) website, for both employers who do not offer a health plan and those who do. There is no fine or penalty for failing to provide the notice to employees, but the ACA does classify them as a requirement.
For further information on the ACA notice requirement, including links to the DOL sample notices, please read the NAR legal department article on the requirements.