Week 2 - Article Review
Professor Pat Williams
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) provides a wide variety of information and assistance for HR professionals. The website for SHRM provides a variety of articles related to HR topics, such as benefits. One such current article, “Midyear Check on Health Plan Compliance,” provides an overview of changes and legal requirements that will take effect on or before January 1, 2015.
The article reminds HR professionals that now is a good time to “take stock” and review what has been completed and what still needs done in order to be in compliance with ...view middle of the document...
Laws and Concepts
During week two, the discussions focused on the role of government mandates and regulations regarding benefits. The questions asked about the efficiency and effectiveness of government-mandated programs, and whether government has too much intervention regarding the administration of employee benefits. According to the “Employee Benefits” text, “Congress tries to avoid telling employers how to manage their employees. However, Congress has passed employment-related laws when it believes that the employee is not on equal footing with the employer.” (Martocchio, 2011)
The article from SHRM relates to several federal regulations that play a major part in benefits practices. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a substantial amendment to ERISA, Title 1 (Martocchio, 2011). There are two provisions listed in the SHRM article. The first provision is for Privacy and Security. Updates still needed regarding privacy and security include fine-tuning policies and procedures, completing training, and finalizing revisions to long-standing associate agreements. The grace period for the final revisions expires on September 23, 2014. The second provision listed is for the Health Plan ID Numbers. Government has now set the deadline to implement the requirement that health plans obtain a unique identification number. The deadline is different for smaller plans compared to larger plans.
On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Shortly thereafter, on March 30, 2010, PPACA was amended by the passage of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Martocchio, 2011). The Employer Mandate provision states that employers are required to offer affordable health coverage that meets prescribed standards of value to all full-time employees. If employers are not in compliance by 2015, they may be required to make a payment to the federal government. Reporting obligations are included as part of the ACA’s shared responsibility requirements. According to the article, the collection of data may involve system changes, so it’s important to review this provision and understand what it requires sooner rather than later. Waiting Periods under group health plans are limited to 90 days. The rules allow plans to require an employee to work a cumulative number of hours (not to exceed 1,200) before the employee becomes eligible to participate.
COBRA and Health Insurance Exchanges are listed as part of the changes brought with the ACA. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) is a substantial amendment to ERISA, Title 1, which states that employers are required to permit qualified beneficiaries to elect continuation of coverage under group health plans if they lose coverage due to a qualifying event (Martocchio, 2011). As part of the ACA, the Department of Labor has published revised model COBRA...