From a general perspective, it is not mandatory for employers to give health-related benefits to their employees despite the fact that the practice of offering health-related benefits is profound for many businesses and companies. Besides aiding employers in recruiting and retaining top talent, employee health care benefits also go a long way in ensuring better productivity and fewer sick days for their employees. However, once the employer provides or offers health benefits such as disability, life, dental and medical insurance, federal anti-discriminatory laws and healthcare insurance plan enforcement regulations serve to protect an employer’s rights under the specific plans. If you’re new to health insurance benefits, here is what you could learn from your employer sponsored insurance lawyer.
Anti-Discrimination in Employment Health Benefits
As stated above, a majority of employers are not required to provide employees with disability, medical, life or dental insurance, but in the event that these benefits are offered, the law stipulates that an employer must adhere to all the federal laws that prohibit discrimination in employment. And as with many other areas of employment like promotion, hiring and termination, health benefits coverage should not be made based on an employee or the beneficiary’s gender, age, race religion, origin or disability. For instance, an employer offering his employees health insurance should not, among other things:
• Offer lesser coverage or stop offering coverage to elderly workers or workers who are pregnant
• Treat pregnancy-related disabilities such as abortion or miscarriage any different from other health conditions
• Refuse to offer coverage based on an individual’s perceived disability, actual disability or genetic information.
In the event that your employer fails to offer health insurance benefits due to any of the above reasons, you can consult an employer sponsored insurance lawyer to help you get back your benefits.
Enforcement of Health Insurance Rights and ERISA
The moment an employer decides to provide health-related benefits, the plan must be run in line with specific standards designed to protect the employee interests and other beneficiaries such as family members under the ERISA federal law. Under this law, the employer is required to take specific steps in connection with the health benefit plans such as:
• Notifying his employees of claim procedures, eligibility standards, beneficiary rights and any changes to the health insurance plan
• Management and investment of the plan funds in accordance with the best interest of the participants.
Family and Medical Leave
While an employee is taking a leave of absence for a specific medical reason, it is important to note that the federal law protects you from being terminated or otherwise treated unfairly when under protected leave. Family and Medical Leave Act normally applies to employers with a minimum of 50 workers. It is important to bear in mind that only unpaid work leave is always protected by the federal law, although many states provide partially paid leave as well.
If you’re having any problems acquiring or interpreting any health insurance plans, an employer sponsored insurance lawyer can help you out and give you the best advice possible.