Health insurance laws are designed to protect individuals both in privacy and it right to be covered. Health insurance laws for employers can vary from state to state and according to the size of the employer. Understanding health law is imperative for all business owners who employ individuals to be sure they are following all laws correctly.
Health Insurance Coverage
Some states do not require business to carry a health insurance plan at all for their employees. Others require it only if the company employees a certain number of people. Some states have state run insurance plans that can be used by small business owners to help cover their employees when an insurance plan is not required by law. Knowing if a business needs to carry an insurance plan is one of the first steps a business owner should look into when getting started.
Discrimination is one of the most common forms of health care law violation. Discrimination is against the law when it comes to offering health care to employes. While we often think of race or sex in terms of discrimination, with health care the problem is more often age, disability, or family status. Employers worry that their premiums will rise based on having elderly employees with heath related conditions, those with disabilities, or those with large families requiring family plans and additional coverage. All employees are entitled to the same benefits and employers must offer the same insurance information and available policies to each employee.
Not all states require that employers provide maternity coverage in their health insurance plans. In some states maternity coverage is regulated by the number of employees the company has. This number can be as low as 5 employees so it is important for businesses to know if they must provide maternity coverage or not.
Health Insurance Premiums
Some states require that employers pay some or all of the employees health insurance premiums. Some states only require companies to offer a health plan to employees but do not have to contribute to the premiums and that responsibility falls on to the employee. Again, this is an area that varies state to state and by number of employees in the company. Looking into the laws where your company does business is imperative to being in compliance.
Federal law governs COBRA insurance coverage. If a company employees more then 20 individuals they are required to notify employees of their eligibility for COBRA insurance upon termination. Individuals are allowed to stay under the employee health plan at their own expense for up to 18 months following termination of employment. COBRA laws are the same for every state.
If new employees had coverage under a previous plan with no preexisting conditions applicable or no more then a 63 day lapse in coverage, employers are required to offer coverage under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. There are some exceptions and extensions for lapses in coverage vary by state.