Failure to tell workers of insurance options won’t draw fine

 Is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act losing some of its teeth?  

The U.S. Department of Labor, using its by-now familiar Q&A format to release new act infomation, is advising businesses  they will not be fined if they fail to notify their workers of their health insurance options by Oct. 1.

Until this week, there was considerable speculation that employers who failed to give written notice to employees outlining their upcoming insurance options faced fines of $100 per day, or even per employee per day, for missing the Oct. 1 notification deadline.

The DOL Q&A seems to suggest that penalties have never been part of the notification deal. Here’s how the DOL addressed the issue:

Q: Can an employer be fined for failing to provide employees with notice about the Affordable Care Act's new Health Insurance Marketplace?

 A: No. 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.

Employers are still supposed to provide the information to their employees, apparently as a courtesy rather than as a requirement.

But if you don’t, it’s no harm, no foul.

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