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Showing 5 posts in Employer Group Health Plans.

HIPAA Considerations In The Event Of Employee Death or Incapacitation

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, otherwise known as HIPAA, acts in part to provide federal protection for identifiable health information retained by covered entities, which includes most businesses that offer company health plans. While many employers have policies and procedures in place to ensure HIPAA compliance in routine, every day matters relating to the management of employee health data, few employers have developed policies or even considered how to manage protected health information in the unfortunate event of employee death or incapacitation.

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Employer Wellness Plan Under Attack by the EEOC

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has filed its first lawsuit directly challenging a wellness program under the Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”). The case, EEOC v. Orion Energy Systems, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

The EEOC is alleging that Orion penalized an employee in 2009 after she declined to participate in the company’s wellness program by requiring her to pay her entire health care insurance premium, in addition to a $50-a-month nonparticipation penalty. Shortly thereafter, the employee was fired – a move that the EEOC believes was retaliatory. Further, the agency contends, Orion required medical examinations and made disability-related inquiries that were not job-related or consistent with business necessity.

The ADA limits the circumstances under which an employer may require physical examinations or answers to medical inquiries. Examinations and inquiries are permissible, but only if participation in an employee wellness program plan is voluntary. Orion’s program, according to the EEOC, was not voluntary because it penalized the employee when she declined to participate.

Employers who want to implement an employee wellness plan must ensure that the plan is compliant not only with ADA requirements, but also with the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). See more on the ACA’s requirements, which are relatively new, here and here

The EEOC’s press release announcing the suit states that 94% of employers with over 200 workers offer some sort of wellness plan, as do 63% of smaller employers. That means that there is a lot of potential for liability when it comes to wellness plans. If you have questions about yours or would like to consult with legal counsel before implementing a program, contact McBrayer’s Employment Law attorneys today.

 Preston Worley

Preston Clark Worley is an associate with McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC. Mr. Worley concentrates his practice in employment law, land development, telecommunications, real estate and affordable housing. He is located in the firm’s Lexington office and can be reached at pworley@mmlk.com or at (859) 231-8780.

This article is intended as a summary of  state and federal law and does not constitute legal advice.

The Affordable Care Act & Small Business Recap

On February 4, McBrayer and Business Lexington presented a panel discussion on how small businesses can navigate the Affordable Care Act.  Attendees received real-world advice on how to traverse the new landscape of health insurance. A huge thank you to the panelists: Jon Carroll, Beverly Clemons, Betsy Johnson, Cris Miller, and Garry Ramsey.

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Supreme Court To Consider Employers’ Arguments Regarding Contraceptive Mandate

The United States Supreme Court will revisit the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) requirement that most employers provide contraceptive coverage in employee health insurance plans. On November 26, 2013, the Court accepted two cases which center on the issue, each of which resulted in a different outcome. The ACA currently provides an exemption to certain non-profit religious organizations, but there is no such exemption for private employers. More >

Association Group Coverage Changes

Posted In Employer Group Health Plans, ERISA

Trade Associations in Kentucky are being asked to show that they meet ERISA “bona fide association” requirements in order to continue to provide group health insurance for their members under health reform requirements effective in 2014.  Such group health insurance may be a more affordable option for some businesses as new health reform requirements begin to take effect. More >

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