Overview: Health care benefits are an important part of the overall compensation package and employee benefit program that employers use to attract and retain workers. Employees value health care benefits because they soften the financial impact of a catastrophic, unanticipated illness or injury.
Employees are typically provided an opportunity to participate in the employer's group health plan. Eligibility for participation may depend on a number of factors including working for a required period of time and/or an individual's employment status (e.g., full time or part time).
Most health care benefit packages include medical and prescription drug coverage, but many employers offer more comprehensive packages that include dental and vision benefits as well. Basic health insurance covers costs related to hospital care, including hospitalization, inpatient surgery and doctor fees related to the hospitalization.
Trends: The requirements of the Affordable Care Act pose some real challenges for HR professionals, and its requirements have a significant impact on how both employers and employees view health care benefits.
Author: Tracy Morley, SPHR, Legal Editor
Updated to incorporate amendments reflecting gender-neutral language in certain cancer-screening provisions, effective May 25, 2017.
A federal court in Massachusetts has approved a $7.5 million settlement in a case that accused Wal-Mart of discriminating against employees by denying health benefits to their same-sex spouses.
Updated to reflect the forthcoming repeal of the state's health benefit exchange law.
Updated to reflect the forthcoming repeal of West Virginia's health benefit exchange law.
This chart helps employers understand each state's health care continuation coverage requirements. These so-called "mini-COBRA" laws cover smaller employers or may otherwise provide greater rights than the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).
Under the Health Care Security Ordinance, an employer with 20 or more employees must file an annual report by April 30 each year.
An employer that is liable for, or responsible for collecting, certain federal excise taxes must file Form 720 with the IRS for each quarter of a calendar year. Sponsors of self-insured health plans and health insurance issuers must report the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee on Form 720 annually by July 31.
Updated to reflect an extended deadline for providing the initial written notice for qualified small employer HRAs under the 21st Century Cures Act.
HR guidance on understanding the value of health care benefits.