More HH Legal Updates

Houston Harbaugh is a full service law firm headquartered in Pittsburgh and serving Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. This collection of blogs further highlights the firms capabilities in several practice areas.

Affordable Care Act: Required Marketplace Notice

On October 1, 2013, one of the first employer action items under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) takes effect. Employers who are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will be required to inform their employees of health benefits alternatives available to them by virtue of the ACA.

As you have probably heard by now, the ACA has created health care “exchanges.” These exchanges, collectively referred to as the “Marketplace,” are essentially a group of private health insurance companies which provide an alternative health insurance product. Open enrollment for the Marketplace begins October 1, 2013. Because this will be a new option for employees, the ACA requires employers to inform their employees of the option to participate in the Marketplace.

The notice to employees must include the following:

  • Information about the existence of the Marketplace, including a description of the services provided by the Marketplace, as well as contact information for the Marketplace;
  • Information regarding the premium tax credit that is available to employees who purchase a qualified health plan though the Marketplace; and
  • Notification that if the employee purchases insurance through the Marketplace, the employee may lose the employer contribution to health benefits and that all or a portion of such contribution may be excludable from income for Federal income tax purposes.

This notice requirement applies to all employees, regardless if they are full or part time, exempt or non-exempt, or whether or not they currently receive insurance through the employer. Importantly; however, employers are not required to provide this notice to dependents of the employees, or other individuals who are or may become eligible for coverage under the plan, but are not employees.

The timing of this notice is significant. Beginning October 1, 2013, employers are required to provide this notice for all new employees hired on or after that date, within 14 days of the start date. Employees who began employment prior to October 1, 2013, are required to receive the notice by October 1, 2013.

The notice can be distributed either by postal mail or electronically. Although not required by the ACA, Houston Harbaugh recommends requesting a return receipt to document that the notice was in fact delivered to the employee when distributed by mail. You may notify employees electronically, via email, as long as you meet the federal requirements for electronic disclosure.[2]

In the interest of ensuring the quality of the notices, the Department of Labor has created model notices, which are available at You will find two separate model notices—one for employers who provide insurance, and one for employers who do not—under the section heading Notice to Employees of Coverage Options.

Virtually all private employers and most public employers are subject to the FLSA. If an employer engages in interstate commerce, it is subject to the FLSA. Because of the broad nature of the interpretation of engaging in interstate commerce, any employer which does business with any out of state entity, including to purchase supplies, etc., qualifies as an employer engaged in interstate commerce. However, if a business has less than $500,000 in annual revenue, it is not subject to the FLSA. For more information, please visit These rules can be found at 29 C.F.R. 2520.104b-1(c).

About Us

Trusted and Cost-Effective Business Law, Business Litigation and Estate Planning Attorneys and Counselors; Building Client Confidence™ with Businesses and Individuals Since 1975

Our firm offers individualized solutions and the highest quality, client-driven and cost effective legal services. Houston Harbaugh, P.C., is a well-known law firm in Pittsburgh, serving Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. Our diverse practice areas include Business Law, Business Litigation, Estate and Succession Planning, Intellectual Property Litigation and Prosecution, Employment and Labor, Employee Benefits, Oil and Gas, Landowner and Property Dispute Counseling and Litigation, Health Care, Environmental, Real Estate, Construction, Complex Tort and Catastrophic Injury Litigation, Insurance coverage and Bad Faith Law, Mediation, Arbitration and Special Master appointment work. As one of the 20 largest law firms in Pittsburgh, our lawyers serve clients on a regional and national basis.

We regularly represent regional, national and international insurance carriers in defense, insurance coverage, unfair trade practices and bad faith matters, and we issue opinions letters and coverage analyses for insurers. We defend designers, manufacturers and sellers in pharmaceutical, products and medical products liability matters and we litigate and try cases involving catastrophic injuries, industrial accidents, toxic torts, professional, engineering and architectural negligence, and agent and broker claims and lawsuits.

Why Houston Harbaugh, P.C.? The Answer Is Clear.

We are accomplished litigators with a strong track record of success in the courtroom and in jury trials. We design and manage business transactions, succession planning, banking and regulatory issues. Our firm has regularly been featured in the U.S. News “Best Lawyers”® rankings of Pittsburgh’s “Best Law Firms.” Our attorneys are also regularly nominated as “Best Lawyers” in this publication. In addition, many of our attorneys are consistently recognized in the annual national Super Lawyers peer review rankings, and our corporate practice has been selected as the winner of The Legal Intelligencer’s Best Law Firm Corporate Practices contest for the Midsize Firm category. Our property and landowner counseling and litigation practice in Oil and Gas and Real Estate is ranked at the top on a regional basis. We help clients to apply for, prosecute, audit, manage and protect intellectual property rights in patent, trademark, copyright and trade secrets. We are admitted to the USPTO and have experience in the TTAB. Some of our firm’s shareholders are Adjunct Professors of Law at the Duquesne University School of Law in litigation and intellectual property courses.

Helping You Achieve Your Goals For Over 40 Years

Since our inception as a health care practice in 1975, our attorneys have represented clients in state and federal courts in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and throughout the nation. We have grown into a multi-disciplinary practice with the ability to handle complex business transactional and litigation matters. We counsel on estate and succession planning and on trust and guardianship matters. We have a strong employment and labor practice. We represent clients in trade secret counseling and federal Defend Trade Secret Act (DTSA) counseling and litigation. Our DTSALaw® practice group is well versed in this federal body of trade secret law. We counsel, draft, litigate and defend claims involving employment non-compete, restrictive covenants, non-disclosure agreements and breach of contract matters. We service clients in the collection of debts and in bankruptcy creditor matters. Houston Harbaugh litigates in Orphans and Probate courts for matters involving estates and trusts. We also provide mediation and arbitration services to parties involved in litigation and our lawyers are currently serving as court appointed special masters in the Federal Courts.

Contact us and Learn How We Can Help You and Your Business

For more information on how we can help you, call our Pittsburgh office at 412-281-5060. You can also reach us online.

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