Are You Compliant with your Required Model Notices?

Model Notices under Health Care Reform

The Affordable Care Act requires group health plans to provide a number of informational notices to employees and other individuals eligible for benefits under the plan.  Model notices that may be used to satisfy certain notice requirements are available from the U.S. Department of Labor.


Included is a list of Model Notices and documents that may be required:

Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) and Uniform Glossary:   Group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group health insurance coverage are required to provide participants and beneficiaries a summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) containing specific information about the plan and coverage, as well as a Uniform Glossary of Terms commonly used in health insurance coverage, as several points during the enrollment process and upon request.  The following templates, instructions, and related materials are available for use in connection with coverage beginning before January 1, 2014:

Templates, Instructions, and Related Materials – Currently Applicable (SBCs Before 1/1/2017)

Templates, Instructions, and Related Materials – Proposed (SBCs On or After 1/1/2017)


Notice of Coverage Options (Health Insurance Exchange Notice): All employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act are required to provide each new full-or part-time employee a written notice with information about a Health Insurance Exchange (Marketplace).  There are two different Notices under this requirement, one notice is for employers who offer coverage, and the other notice is for employers who do NOT offer group coverage.  The initial distribution was required no later than October 1, 2013.  However, in addition to the initial distribution of the Coverage Option Notice, an employer is required to provide it at the time of hiring, within 14 days of the employee’s start date.  The notice may be distributed by first-class mail, or electronically if certain requirements are met.  Model language is available from the DOL:

Notices listed below are categorized by the Grandfathered or Non-Grandfathered Status of your Health Plan.

If your Plan is Grandfathered, the following Health Plan Notices are required:

1.  Grandfathered Model Notice; en español

2.  Dependent to Age 26 Notice (Coverage for Adult Children); en español

3.  Patient Protection Model Notice; en español

4.  Lifetime Limits on Essential Health Benefits; en español

5.  Patient Protections Notice-Prohibition on Rescissions

6.  Internal Claims and Appeals and External Review Decisions

If your Plan is Non-Grandfathered, the above Health Plan Notices (#2-6 are required)


Finally, all Plans-Grandfathered and Non-Grandfathered alike-must also provide the following ERISA Notices:

  1. Summary Plan Description (SPD) – An Employer must provide the SPD to plan participants within 90 days of the participant enrolling in the plan.  An updated SPD must be furnished every 5 years if changes are made to SPD information or the plan is amended (otherwise, it must be furnished every 10 years).
  2. Summary of Material Modification (SMM) – Within 60 days of adoption of a material reduction in covered services or benefits (alternatively, notice may be provided with plan information that is furnished at regular intervals of not more than 90 days, if certain conditions are met).
  3. Plan Documents – Copies must be furnished within 30 days of a written request, and the plan administrator must make copies available for examination at its principal office (the DOL can also request any documents relating to the plan).
  4.  WWCRA_NoticeWomen’s Health & Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) Notices – Upon enrollment in a plan that provides coverage for medical and surgical benefits related to a mastectomy, and annually thereafter.
  5. CHIP_Model_Notice(Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act);
  6. HIPAA Notice (for self-insured plans) (Contact your agent for assistance);
  7. Medicare Part D Creditable Coverage Disclosure Notice or Non-Creditable Coverage Disclosure Notice – Annually prior to October 15th, upon request, and at various other times as required under the law.  An online disclosure to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is also required annually, no later than 60 days from the beginning of a plan year, and at certain other times
  8. Mental_Health_Parity (Mental Health Parity Act) – Upon request for a plan offering medical/surgical benefits and mental health or substance use disorder benefits
  9. Michelle’s Law Notice – With any notice regarding a requirement for certification of student status under a plan that bases eligibility for coverage on student status (and that provides dependent coverage beyond age 26).
  10. Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act Notice – must be included in the SPD for a plan providing maternity or newborn infant coverage.


 Other Helpful Documents:
Initial COBRA Model Notice (Updated for Healthcare Reform)
COBRA Model Election Notice | en español  (updated for Healthcare Reform)


For more information and evaluation of your current benefits, please contact MNJ Insurance Solutions at (714) 716-4303.


This content is provided for informational purposes only.  While we have attempted to provide current, accurate and clearly expressed information, this information is provided “as is” and MNJ Insurance Solutions makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy  and completeness.  The information provided should not be construed as legal or tax advice or as a recommendation of any kind.  External users should seek professional advice form their own attorneys and tax and benefit plan advisers with respect to their individual circumstances and needs.