If your company sponsors a group health insurance plan for your employees, it can be tricky—not to mention time-consuming—to track down reliable information on your responsibilities under the law. Don't be tempted by your Google search button! You can go straight to the source with the Health Benefits Advisor, a great interactive tool available online from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
The online Health Benefits Advisor provides employers with an overview of various federal laws that can affect health benefit coverage provided by group health plans, including:
- COBRA (the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act)
- HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
- WHCRA (the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act)
- The Newborns' and Mothers' Health Protection Act
- The Mental Health Parity Act of 1996
Guidance on Compliance Questions
The Advisor is designed to simulate the interaction an employer might have with an employment law expert and provides general guidance based on responses you provide to a range of compliance questions. For each law, the Advisor provides a description of the employer obligations contained in the law and regulations, and links you to other materials to assist you in complying with that law.
Please note that the information provided in the Advisor is not intended as legal advice and does not replace the advice of a qualified professional advisor. The specific laws included in the Advisor may or may not apply to your plan depending upon a number of factors, including the employees in your organization and the type of benefits offered under your health plan.
If you're still unsure about your company's obligations when it comes to benefits compliance, you can also call and chat with a benefits advisor at the DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration (1-866-444-3272). Our section on Employee Benefits features step-by-step guidance on COBRA and other important federal laws.
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