The U. S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration recently released an updated version of its e-laws Advisor, the Health Benefits Advisor for Employers. The Advisor explains the statutes and regulations of Parts 6 and 7 of Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
ERISA covers the following laws:
- Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA);
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA);
- Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA) and Mental Health Parity and Addition Equity Act (MHPAEA);
- Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act (Newborns’ Act);
- Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA);
- Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA); and
- Michelle’s Law, which ensures that college students don’t lose access to health insurance when taking a medical leave of absence.
The specific laws included in Parts 6 and 7 of ERISA are applicable to group health plans. The application of each law depends upon a number of factors, including the number of employees in an organization and the type of benefits offered by the health plan.
It is important to note that the Health Benefits Advisor for Employers does not reflect the passage of the recent healthcare reform law, the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA). PPACA provides additional health protections and employer compliance requirements. For an overview of PPACA, visit the PPACA webpage.
While they should only be used for general guidance, the Labor Department’s elaws advisors are online tools that simulate interaction with an employment law expert through a series of questions and answers. Each elaws advisor contains basic information on each law, provides a description of the employer obligations contained in the law and regulations, and provides links to other compliance assistance tools. For specific guidance, contact an employment law attorney familiar with employee benefits issues in your state.
To access all of the elaws advisors, visit www.dol.gov/elaws.