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United States Department of Labor Case Study

United States Department of Labor Case Study

Go to the United States Department of Labor Website to read “ Health Plans and Benefits” at http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/health-plans/cobra.htm. This Website communicates the current regulations and federal involvement in employee benefits. Navigate the Website to become familiar with its contents.

Describe the major features of this Website and how each feature can be used to monitor employee benefits.
Explain how employers could verify that their employee benefits comply with all federal laws by using this resource.
Explain how employees would use this information to ensure their benefits rights are protected.
Create an outline of the Website so that you could orient others to its usefulness for regulatory compliance.

United States Department of Labor Case Study

Describe the major features of this Website and how each feature can be used to monitor employee benefits.

The Website gives an in-depth analysis of the services that are offered by the United States Department of Labor (DOL). The services included on the Website are those linked to labor organizations, labor laws, and all other issues pertaining employment in the United States, such as health benefits. There is comprehensive information on “Health Plans and Benefits,” which documents materials on various health-related topics. The health topics on the Website include mental health benefits, fiduciary responsibilities, protection of newborns and their mothers, women’s health and cancer benefits, Continuation of Health Coverage (COBRA), Information about health benefits to consumers and health education (U.S. Department of Labour [DOL] a n.d.). All these topics are explained extensively and backed up by other webpages on the subject.

The Website features not only major topics of interest but also various navigation links to research resources, frequently asked questions (FAQS), major reports and news, an events calendar, statistical data, and contact information. These links offer an opportunity to the visitors to access virtually all information related to labor. The available information can be used by employers, employees, and other key stakeholders in the labor department to analyze various issues. Most of the information on the Website has an educational value to the employees and allows them to learn their health benefits (U.S. Department of Labour [DOL] b, n.d.). The awareness created amongst the employees empowers them to demand compliance from the employers.Order Now from Course ResearchersThe navigation link to the frequently asked questions helps employees in figuring out the issues that they face commonly at their workplace and how to solve them. The sampled questions provide employees with general information that is deemed by the department most valuable to all the visitors on the Website. The main topics listed on the Website allow for navigation to various webpages, which help employees to learn more about their benefits. The topics are very specific, and the categorization provided by the Website allows employees to easily educate themselves on the issues that are most relevant to them. Apart from the major topics outlined on the Website, there are other broader classifications which include agencies, forms, news, about us, and topics (U.S. Department of Labour [DOL] a, n.d.). These classifications provide visitors with an opportunity to discover more labor-related concepts such as the laws that protect them, key agencies, or groups they can seek help from and broader statistics. Overall, the page is structured in a manner that allows for easier navigation for all visitors. All the information provided is substantiated and guided by relevant legal information that governs the operations of the department.

Explain how employers could verify that their employee benefits comply with all federal laws by using this resource.

Under the federal laws, an employer can develop a benefit plan for the employees or maintain the one that has been set up by the employee’s labor union or organization.  The benefit plan should be compliant with the benefit plans which have been provided by the federal law (Ronconi, 2010). Meeting the federal law benefit plans includes adhering to all the taxation requirements to ensure that the interests of the employees are protected. Although some employers have often reported to abuse their employee’s rights, they have the sole responsibility to ensure that all regulations set by the federal law are implemented. The DOL website has vital resources that help employers to keep track of their level of adherence to federal laws. The Website contains information about various organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, which all employers should interact with to determine whether their practices are compliant with the federal laws.

The bodies that offer compliance information listed on the Website include those that develop the regulations and those that implement them. The information about these bodies is accessible by navigating on the classification of agencies on the Website (U.S. Department of Labour [DOL] a, n.d.). Any employer seeking to maintain high levels of compliance should establish close partnerships with agencies such as the Benefits Review Board (BRB), Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS) Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) and the Office of the Secretary (OSEC) which are listed on the Website. Resources from these agencies provide vital information that might be helpful to an employer in assessing compliance.

Employers could also easily gain access to compliance information by referring to the “Compliance Assistance” link provided. The link redirects visitors to a range of DOL’s mandates in the provision and maintenance of the employee benefit plans as dictated by the federal law. All the laws that govern federal compliance are stated and assistance materials provided (U.S. Department of Labour [DOL] a, n.d.). For example, the Website declares the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) as the body mandated to address most employee benefit plans and ensure that the individuals managing the plans meet the set standards (U.S. Department of Labour [DOL] a, n.d.). Employers can critically assess and evaluate the information on the Website to determine the compliance of the plans that they offer their employees.

 Explain how employees would use this information to ensure their benefits rights are protected.

The employees can use the Website to understand the laws and compliances governing their health benefits. The Website provides useful information for the employees to understand various health benefits choices available to them as well as the responsibility of the employer in providing the health benefits. For example, employees will be aware of the health benefits provided under the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA), employers’ compliance in meeting the health benefits responsibilities, various health choices, retirement benefits, and employees’ health benefit rights in case of employer’s bankruptcy.Order Now from Course ResearchersHIPAA protects employees and their families. Under this Act, an employee cannot be discriminated based on certain health factors such as genetic disorder or past medical conditions (U.S. Department of Labour [DOL] a n.d.). The HIPAA also provides workers with special rights, including special enrollment. The special enrollment permit employees who previously declined health coverage to register for coverage. According to the U.S. Department of Labour, the special rights will arise irrespective of when the employee enrolled. The special enrollment might arise under two situations: upon certain life events and losing eligibility for other health coverages. For certain life events enrolment, the employee, spouse, and new dependent are allowed for special enrolment due to events such as birth, adoption, marriage, or placement. The loss of eligibility for other coverage is available for employees and dependents who do not enroll for coverage since they have other health coverages. When employees lose the eligibility or employer contribution, they are entitled to special enrolment rights.

With the information provided on the Website, the employees will also know how the health benefits will work for them. For example, employees become aware of the several health coverages options and how they can help them meet their needs and preferences. The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has provided several essential health benefit laws, and that governs employer-based health plans. By using the information from the Website, employees are equipped with the basic information on how health plan works. Employees are also provided with information on how to qualify for health benefits and how to make claims. The individuals are educated on how they can use HIPAA to continue enjoying the health benefits when they change jobs or lose benefits. Employees are also informed about special medical conditions. The Website provides important guidelines to the employees on how they can ensure they are harvesting maximum benefits from the health benefit plans. Besides the health benefits, the websites also provide information on how employees can continue enjoying both retirement and health benefits after the employer’s bankruptcy.

Create an outline of the Website so that you could orient others to its usefulness for regulatory compliance

The Website is useful to both employers and employees. The outline guideline below presents information that governs employers in advancing health benefits to employees and how employees can benefit from these health coverages.

Employee and Employer Compliance Assistance

This section presents useful materials that help employers to understand compliance requirements. The employees, on the other hand, understands their health benefit plans.

Understanding HIPAA Provisions

This Act clarifies to the employees’ rights provided in the HIPAA provisions. For example, it helps the employees understand that they qualify for special enrolment under certain life situations, and they should not be discriminated against.

What happens in the case of an employer’s bankruptcy

This part equips the employees with the information on when bankruptcy might or might not affect their retirement and health benefits.

Retirement and Health Care Coverage

This provision provides answers to employees about health and retirement benefits.

Work Changes and Health Benefit Rights

Educates employees about their health care rights when the work-life changes.

Health Choices and Life Changes

Provides information to the workers about health benefit choices after particular life key events such as birth, marriage, or adoption.

References

Ronconi, L. (2010). Enforcement and Compliance with Labor Regulations. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 63(4), 719-736.

U.S. Department of Labour [DOL] a. (n.d.). Continuation of Health Coverage (COBRA). Retrieved from United States Department of Labor: https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/health-plans

U.S. Department of Labour [DOL] b. (n.d.). Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Labour: https://webapps.dol.gov/dolfaq/go-dol-faq.asp?faqid=478&faqsub=General+Information&faqtop=About+DOL&topicid=9

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