Compliance with Federal Laws
If an employer does choose to offer health care coverage, it must comply with several federal laws. The most notable of these are:
- The Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), which contains various reporting and disclosure rules,
- The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), which includes provisions pertaining to continuation of coverage,
- The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which affects health plan design and administration, and
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which addresses the issue of portability, specifically in light of coverage of pre-existing conditions.
Unlike other employer-provided benefits such as pensions, an employee usually is entitled to begin receiving benefits shortly after commencing employment.