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By Employee Benefits Corporation News on 3/14/2012 9:39 AM

Employers, employees, insurers and the courts have wrestled with this topic for years. At issue is whether various voluntary plans are subject to ERISA and COBRA; or whether the plans are only subject to state insurance law. Insurance plans that employees purchase on their own and pay for outside of work are clearly voluntary plans. Once the employer enters the picture, however, the issue gets murkier. Even if an employee pays the entire cost of an insurance plan through the employer, the plan may still not be voluntary.

By Employee Benefits Corporation News on 3/8/2012 11:27 AM

According to a new employer survey, most U.S. companies plan to increase the dollar value of the incentives they offer employees to participate in health improvement programs in 2012. The survey found that nearly three-fourths of companies (73%) use incentives to engage employees in health improvement programs. In 2011, the average incentive value was $460, up from an average of $430 in 2010, and nearly twice as much as the 2009 average, $260. And that $460 figure is expected to climb in 2012 for the majority of employers.

By Employee Benefits Corporation News on 2/22/2012 3:32 PM

Beginning in 2014, health care exchanges are expected - indeed, mandated – to play a key role in the implementation of reform legislation. Exchanges are intended to serve and address consumers who don’t have employer-sponsored coverage or cannot afford employer-sponsored coverage. The basic concept of the exchange is to facilitate the interaction between insurance companies and consumers, using a common platform for comparison of qualified health plans.

 

By Employee Benefits Corporation News on 2/13/2012 4:08 PM

On Friday, President Obama announced that his Administration will implement a policy that seeks to accommodate religious liberty while protecting the health of women. Under the new policy, women will still have access to free preventive care that includes contraceptive services – no matter where she works. And as previously announced, churches and houses of worship will be exempt from the requirement to refer or provide coverage for contraception. But if a woman’s employer is a charity, hospital or other religious organization that has a religious objection to providing contraceptive services as part of its health plan, her insurance company – and not the hospital or charity – will be required to reach out and offer her contraceptive care free of charge. This policy has earned praise from a wide range of individuals and organizations, including many organizations that will be directly affected by this policy.

By Employee Benefits Corporation News on 2/10/2012 10:47 AM

In an effort to help consumers make more informed health insurance decisions, the Obama administration released new rules requiring insurers to provide clear, consistent and comparable summary information about their health plan benefits and coverage. Insurers must communicate what each health plan will cover, what limitations or conditions will apply, and what each service will cost, all in standardized and straightforward language.

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