DoL Publishes CHIP Model Notice

February 12, 2010 ( - The U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) has issued a model notice to help employers inform employees of opportunities for group health plan premium assistance under Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in their state of residence.

The CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA) requires employers that maintain group health plans in any state that provides premium assistance to notify employees of their potential opportunities to receive the premium assistance for themselves or their beneficiaries. Employers may combine this notice with other information (e.g., open enrollment materials).

The plan is required to provide the Employer CHIP Notice, regardless of the employer’s location or principal place of business (or the location or principal place of business of the group health plan).

For plan years beginning from February 4, 2010, through April 30, 2010, the Employer CHIP Notice must be provided by May 1, 2010. For employers whose next plan year begins on or after May 1, 2010, the Employer CHIP Notice must be provided by the first day of the next plan year (January 1, 2011, for calendar-year plans).

The DoL said the notice will be updated annually, with current information about which states are providing premium assistance programs.

The agency is asking for comments regarding compliance with the CHIP notice requirement. Comments are due by April 5.

The model notice and instructions for submitting comments are in the February 4 issue of the Federal Register. The model notice can also be found on the DoL Employee Benefit Security Administration’s Web site: