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U.S. Dept. of Labor Case Study Essay

Abstract

Career One Stop is an online tool sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. This online tool can be utilized as a pathway to success. This tool gives useful information via online to help job seekers, students, businesses and career professionals. Some tools that can be utilized per the website are Wages and Salaries, Unemployment Insurance Information, Pay for Education and Training and Benefits. This site is truly a One Stop Center because it has information for everyone the employee, the job seeker and the company (Career One Stop ). Keywords: Tool, job seekers, businesses pathway

Describe the major features of this website and how each can be used to monitor employee benefits.  Three of the major features of the Dept. of Labor website are Cobra Continuation, Compliance Assistance and Employee Retirement Security Act (ERSA). Cobra Continuation is a form of health care offered by the U.S. government to employees who experienced involuntary termination. Cobra offer premium reduction rates for those individuals who experienced involuntary termination on or before May 31, 2012. These premium reductions are not available for those who experienced involuntary termination after May 31, 2010 because this eligibility period has passed. Those who believe that they may be eligible for the premium reduction can contact The Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration at www.askebsa.dol.gov or by calling 1-866-444-3272 (Cobra Continuation ).

The department of Labor is a very resourceful site in comparison to Cobra. Per the U.S. Dept. of Labor website under Cobra Continuation Health Coverage the Frequently Asked Question is an good tool that employees can use as a reference guide to monitor their benefits. The site list questions as well as answers on how to monitor Cobra’s Health Benefits.

The following are examples listed on dol.gov website of how the employees can monitor their Cobra benefits. The Frequently Asked Questions via online is a tool that can assist employees with monitoring and answering some basic questions such as: Q1. Who is entitled to benefits under Cobra? Cobra uses three qualifying criteria in order to establish who is entitling to Cobra Benefits. These criteria are plans, qualified beneficiaries and qualifying events. a. Plans coverage states Cobra cover employees with 20 or more employees or more than 50 percent of a normal business day in the prior calendar year are subject to Cobra. Both full and part-time employees are determining factors on whether a plan is subject to Cobra. b. Qualifying beneficiary states that on or before a qualifying event happens the employee, employee spouses or employee dependent child is covered. c. Qualifying event via online let the employee monitor and determine what a qualifying event is considered.

The information online states that this is an event that causes an individual to lose coverage. The type of lost coverage is the determining factor of who the qualifying beneficiaries are and the amount of time that a plan must be offer for health coverage (Frequently Asked Questions Cobra Continuation Health Coverage). Also another Frequently Asked Question when it comes to Cobra Benefits that many employees ask if I don’t make my premium on time and my coverage is canceled what can I do? The site tells you who to contact and how. As stated, you can contact your plan and ask them to reinstate your coverage or for additional assistance employees can contact EBSA Benefits, Advisors at 1.866.444.3272 (Frequently Asked Questions Cobra Continuation Health Coverage).

Also another FAQ asked by many Cobra electives have is can they receive Cobra benefits while on FMLA leave. This information can be accessed online through Department of Labor website; the FAQ’s gives the person the definition of the FMLA Act passed as well as further information on who to contact and what listing. As stated per Department of Labor website The Family and Medical Leave Act, states as of August 5, 1993 an employer must maintain coverage under any group health plan for an employee on FMLA Leave under the same conditions coverage if the employee had continued working. FMLA leave is not considered a qualifying event under Cobra.

A Cobra qualifying event can occur in an instance when an employer’s obligation to maintain health benefits under FMLA cease. An example of this is when an employee has intent of not returning to work. Further information can be provided by going to your nearest Wage and Hour Office or through the telephone directory under U.S Government and U.S. Department of Labor (Frequently Asked Questions Cobra Continuation Health Coverage). Explain how employers could verify that their employee benefits comply with all federal laws by using this resource.

Employers can use the reference material found on the Department of Labor website called Find It By Audience-Employer to verify that their employee benefits comply with all federal laws.  The first place an employer would want to start in order to understand which laws affect them as an employer is compliance assistance information and resources. Under the website subheading, Help Navigating Department of Labor Laws and Regulation it gives a general definition of compliance assistance. It states, that compliance assistance is an important part of the Department’s effort to protect the wages, health benefits, retirement security, employment rights, safety, and health of American’s workforce (Office of Compliance Assistance Policy).

The two major tools that an employer can reference to under the Compliance Assistance Resources are Employment Law Guide and The Summary of Major Laws. The Employment Law Guide is a guide of laws, regulations and technical assistance services. This guide describes the major statutes and regulations administered by the Department of Labor, which affect the employer. This guide can also be used as hands on reference material for the employer to develop wages, benefits, safety and health and non-discrimination policies to ensure that they are complying with the federal law (Elaws).

The employer can access per Department of Labor website The Summary of the Major Laws of the Dept. of Labor which gives a brief description of the laws most applicable by the employer. The summary is intended for businesses to get acquainted with the major labor laws and not to offer a detail exposition. For further information and references the employer should consult the statutes and regulations themselves (Office of the Secretary). Explain how employees would use this information to ensure their benefits rights are protected.

The employees can use reference tools such as: HIPPA, life changes require health choices, work changes require health choices and reservists being called to active duty to their pension & health benefit on DOL website to make sure their benefit rights are protected.

Many people have heard of HIPPA, The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act during a doctor or hospital visit. At a doctor office or hospital a business office person or at a hospital someone in admissions will hand you a “HIPPA Privacy Notice” advising you that your hospital or doctor office records and information will remain private. But HIPPA covers a lot more than privacy. Many employees value the importance of having health coverage on their job. When HIPPA was first passed many employees felt as though they couldn’t switch jobs because they would lose the insurance coverage they needed for their families. But HIPPA protects the employees and make their job transition easier by allowing them to keep health coverage for themselves and their families (Your Health Plan and HIPPA…Making the Law Work for You).

The HIPPA’s umbrella of protection states the following:

1. Limits the ability of a new employer plan to exclude coverage for preexisting conditions. 2. Provides additional opportunities to enroll in a group health plan if you lose other coverage or experience certain life events. 3. Prohibits discrimination against employees and their dependent family members based on any present or pre-existing health condition. 4. Guarantee that certain individuals can access individual health insurance policy. Note: If an employee needs additional information about what healthcare rights they have or protected under there is a Resource Section for additional questions or employees can contact their local EBSA office (Your Health Plan and HIPPA…Making the Law Work for You). Life Changes Require Health Choices is a section that covers some basic formalities of what the employee should know when circumstantial events occur.

Some basic changes that occur in an employee livelihood that can affect their benefits are marriage, pregnancy, child birth and adoption. First, when a marriage occurs the employee should gather details on their spouse’s plan, and make sure they understand how it works. Things you will need to know are the amount of deductibles or co pays you will be required to pay for premiums. Next the employee will need to notify the plan and request special enrollment for everyone within 30days of marriage. If your spouse has health coverage compares the plans and sees which works best for you (Life Changes Require Health Choices…Know Your Benefit Options).

In the event of a pregnancy, childbirth and adoption an employee need to know that HIPPA places limits on the amount of time a preexisting condition exclusion period may apply. Healthcare plans don’t consider pregnancy and preexisting conditions (Life Changes Require Health Choices…Know Your Benefit Options).

Birth and adoption can trigger a special enrollment period for you, your spouse and new dependents can enroll in your employer’s plan. Newborns and Adopted Children’s are not consider preexisting if the employee enroll them within 30 days of the birth of an adoption (Life Changes Require Health Choices…Know Your Benefit Options).

Opportunities and pitfalls are a part of life, especially when it comes to work therefore the employee needs to know how these changes will affect their employment. Find out the things you need to know as an employee regarding how opportunities and pitfalls such as: Your first job, job loss or retirement can affect you. Learn you rights, know your rights so you can protect your rights when work changes occur. These rights can be viewed on Department of Labor website under the subheading Work Changes Require Health Choices (Work Changes Require Health Choices…Protect Your Rights, 2010).

Create an outline of the Website so that you could orient others to its usefulness for regulatory compliance.

Health Care Plans and Benefits

I. Continuation of Health Coverage

Cobra-The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act better known as (Cobra) demonstrates of how the employee and their family member can elect continues health care coverage. Cobra requires employers and plans to provide a notice. II. DOL Web Pages- is a guide or tool where the employee can access information that will answer their questions as well as direct them in the right path. The topics on the DOL Web Pages range from Frequently Asked Questions, Consumer Information on Health Plans and Compliance Assistance.

III. Health Plans and Benefits

a. Child Care Assistance- as stated per DOL website the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require an employer to provide child care assistance. Although, the FMLA does require a covered employee to provide unpaid leave to an eligible employee for the adoption of a child or placement of foster children b. Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) – A federal Act that was passed in 1974 to protect retirees and their benefits. These guidelines can be viewed on EBSA’s Compliance Assistance Webpage. IV. Get Topics by Email

References

Cobra Continuation . (n.d.). Retrieved 11 29, 2012, from http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/cobra.html Elaws. (n.d.). Retrieved 11 30, 2012, from Employment Law Guide: http://www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/index.htm Employee Benefits Security Administration. (n.d.). Retrieved 12 1, 2012, from Your Health Plan and HIPPA…Making the Law Work for You : http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/publications/hphippa.html Office of Compliance Assistance Policy. (n.d.). Retrieved 11 30, 2012, from Help Navigating DOL Laws and Regulations: http://www.dol.gov/compliance/ Office of the Secretary. (n.d.). Retrieved 11 30, 2012, from Summary of The Major Laws of The Department of Labor: http://www.dol.gov/opa/aboutdol/lawsprog.htm


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