Overview: Employee benefit programs typically account for one-third of employee compensation costs. HR professionals are charged with managing this investment wisely. This includes ensuring compliance, controlling costs, having an effective communication strategy and making sure the benefits program attracts, retains and engages employees.
This is especially challenging in light of rising health care costs and an increasingly complex regulatory environment. With only so many dollars to spend on employee benefits a key part of the strategy is to determine how much to invest so that both the needs of the employee and the employer are met. The regulatory environment has a significant impact on how employee benefit plans are designed and administered as employers ensure plans are operated in compliance with ERISA, COBRA and HIPAA.
Having a benefits strategy that is linked to business strategy can serve as a significant competitive advantage for employers. Clearly aligning the vision of employee benefit programs with the employer's business goals demonstrates how HR functions as a business partner and contributes to the bottom line. Effective benefit communications can support this vision and will ensure that both employers and employees get the most from the substantial investment in benefits.
Trends: The newer requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Health Care Reform or Obamacare, in addition to the repeal of section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act will challenge HR professionals in both the short and the long-term as they monitor developments and adjust benefit strategies accordingly.
Author: Tracy Morley, SPHR, Legal Editor
New rules on the Affordable Care Act's contraception coverage mandate were published in light of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby and Wheaton College decisions. Interim final rules provide an alternative way for religious nonprofits to provide notice of their objection to covering contraceptive services, and proposed rules cover accommodating closely held, for-profit companies with religious objections.
The EEOC filed its first lawsuit directly challenging an employer's wellness program under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
New California legislation, SB 1034, aligns state health insurance waiting periods with the federal Affordable Care Act's (ACA's) maximum 90-day waiting period. The state had previously established a 60-day cap.
The health care reform resource page can be used as a tool to help subscribers comply with the complex requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
These FAQs cover the excise tax on Cadillac Plans under the Affordable Care Act.
The requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) go into effect over several years. The following is a summary of major provisions of health reform that are already in effect as well as those that will become effective over the next several years.
HR and legal considerations for employers regarding employee benefit programs. Support on following regulations and requirements on this topic.