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 reflect a district court's ruling on the DOL's association health plans final rule.
Updated to reflect provisions designed to preserve ACA benefits, effective March 19, 2019.
Updated to reflect proposed regulations that would update and revise the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime exemption requirements.
Enhanced to improve the organization and provide additional expository information.
Updated to reflect the repeal of the ACA's individual mandate under the federal tax reform law.
A pair of federal judges have blocked enforcement of the Trump administration's revised rules that would have made it easier for employers to refuse to offer birth control coverage for moral or religious reasons.
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Updated to include a provision regarding the individual health insurance mandate, effective January 1, 2019.
HR guidance on understanding the value of health care benefits.