Originally set as March 1 this year, the deadline for all employers to inform their workforces about how the new health insurance exchanges will operate has been delayed, with no new date offered. The Health and Human Services (HHS) Department fact sheet explaining the delay indicates it would be "will coordinate[d] with the open enrollment period for Exchanges" sometime this summer or fall.

The delay may reflect in part the difficulty HHS has experienced in getting the states to set up their health insurance exchanges as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010. Earlier it also delayed the decision deadline for states to operate their own exchanges or let the federal government do so for them.

According to PPACA, these written employer notifications must:

  • inform employees about the exchanges
  • describe the Exchange services
  • provide contact information for the exchanges
  • inform employees of the potential for premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions for qualified health plan coverage purchased through the exchanges where the employer's plan pays less than 60% covered costs
  • inform employees that if they purchase qualified health plan coverage through the exchanges, they may lose any employer contributions that may be excludable from federal income taxes.