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October 1 Healthcare Notice Deadline and Your Ministry

Our office has been inundated with calls from churches concerned about whether they are required to issue notices to all employees about the debut of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) on October 1, 2013. 

Some churches are being incorrectly told that they will incur fines and other penalties for ignoring a Department of Labor document requiring employers to inform employees about the ACA Health Exchanges (now called “Marketplaces”) before that October 1 date. 

We at the National Center for Life and Liberty (NCLL) want to make sure that you have correct legal information about this issue.

  1. First and most importantly, we want you to know that NCLL serves as your eyes, ears, and voice on Capital Hill. We have staff regularly in touch with Senators and Representatives on all issues of importance to churches—including this one.  We have been lobbying along with many other groups against the implementation of Obamacare, and we can tell you that nothing about Obamacare is yet clear. The President has issued exemptions and delays for many of his corporate friends, and we are still hopeful Congress may yet take action to spare ordinary citizens as well.  
  1. Even if individuals are able to begin signing up with the government health insurance exchanges (now being called “Marketplaces”) on October 1, it is absolutely clear that no churches will face fines or penalties for not using the Labor Department government forms to notify their employees about this program.  We do not want churches to be misinformed about these basic facts.
  1. Churches are exempt from the requirements of Obamacare. Most churches do not employ enough people (50 or more full time employees) to fear any penalties for non-compliance. Others have religious objections to promoting any health insurance plan that pays for abortions or promotes euthanasia, as Obamacare does. In either case, churches are exempt, as are other ministries whose religious beliefs would be violated by participation in this government program.
  1. All churches, even larger ones with schools, colleges, or those employing 50 or more people, should carefully consider whether they want to provide their employees with information directing them to a government health insurance program that funds abortions and promotes euthanasia. NCLL will stand legally with any pastor whose church or ministry might incur fines or other penalties for refusing to violate the church’s religious beliefs on this issue.

Here, in a nutshell is what you need to know about this Labor Department Notice Requirement that is currently stirring up such an uproar among churches:

The Labor Department has issued a Notice Requirement to all employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, telling them to inform their employees about the Health Insurance Exchanges (“Marketplaces”) and the beginning of signups for individuals on October 1, 2013. New employees hired after October 1, the Labor Department says, must also be informed about the health insurance exchanges within 14 days of their hire. However, most churches are not required to comply with either this Labor Department Notice or with Obamacare itself and no churches will receive fines for non-compliance.  If you would, nevertheless, like to have copies of these government documents, please contact our office with your email address. 


NCLL Ministry Leadership Legal Seminars Will Help with Issues Like This

In 2014, the NCLL will be hosting 18 ministry leadership legal seminars across the country. At the one-day seminars, we will address issues—like this one—to help your ministry know and understand the legal landscape that will affect you and your ministry.

Click here for more information about the 2014 Ministry Leadership Legal Seminars


Legislative Prayer Update

In August, the NCLL filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway arguing that legislative prayer should be able to include references to Christ and can conclude “in Jesus’ name.” If you haven’t gotten to read a copy of the brief that the NCLL filed—click here to download a copy.

This week, the NCLL received notification from the United States Solicitor General—President Obama’s designated attorney to argue the Administration’s position before the United States Supreme Court—stating that the Obama administration has requested oral argument time in the case. Astoundingly, the Solicitor General stated that the Administration’s position is to support the continuing tradition of opening legislative sessions in prayer, “even when most of the prayers are delivered by prayer-givers of one faith and many of their prayers contain sectarian references.”

If you’d like to read the Solicitor General’s notice, click here to download a copy.

Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to serve you and your ministry. Please keep the NCLL in your prayers as we are involved in training church and ministry leaders, advancing biblical and constitutional values with the legislatures, litigating a broad scope of religious and constitutional liberties cases, and speaking to the issues of our day in the media and pulpits of our nation. Please let us know if we can assist you in any way! 

On behalf of those we have the privilege of serving, 

David Gibbs III
President and General Counsel
National Center for Life and Liberty

Admitted in Florida, North Dakota, Minnesota, Colorado, Texas, Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan, the District of Columbia, many federal courts, and the United States Supreme Court.