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Automatic Enrollment in Larger Employer Health Plans Delayed to 2014

In recent guidance by the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Internal Revenue Service, the agencies said the requirement will not go into effect until regulations are issued.

February 15, 2012
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A provision in the health care reform law that requires employers with more than 200 employees to automatically enroll new employees in one of their health care plans will not go into effect until 2014, federal regulators say.

In guidance released last week by the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Internal Revenue Service, the agencies said the requirement will not go into effect until regulations are issued.

Separately, the Labor Department affirmed its earlier guidance that the automatic enrollment rules won't be ready until 2014.

"In view of the need for coordinated guidance and a smooth implementation process, including an applicability date that gives employers sufficient time to comply, the Department of Labor has concluded that its automatic enrollment guidance will not be ready to take effect by 2014," it said in a statement.

The statutory automatic enrollment provision, unlike many others in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, itself does not stipulate an effective date.

Under the law, employers are required to notify employees about automatic enrollment and to give them an opportunity to opt out of a plan in which they were automatically enrolled.

Jerry Geisel writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email editors@workforce.com.

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