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elaws - employment laws assistance for workers and small businesses

- Health Benefits Advisor

The Health Benefits Advisor provides guidance to help workers and their families better understand employer and employee organization (such as a union) provided group health benefits and the laws that govern them, especially when they experience changes in their life and work situations - such as marriage, childbirth, job loss or retirement. The Advisor may assist employers in understanding their responsibilities under the applicable laws. The Advisor, however, does not provide information on a user's specific plan. Rather, the guidance provided is general in nature and users are encouraged to review their specific health plan or health plan options in conjunction with the general information provided by this Advisor.

The Advisor concentrates primarily on the rights and options of individuals with respect to a group health plan offered by a private sector employer, a union or both.

The Advisor does not address health benefits offered through Federal, state or local government plans or church plans.

For various reasons, individuals may be either uninsured or have coverage that is not through a group health plan. The Advisor explains the rights of individuals to enroll in a group health plan when certain work or life events occur, regardless of the plan's enrollment dates. The Advisor also explains the rights of workers to continue group health plan coverage temporarily, when certain work or life events might otherwise cause that coverage to end.

This Advisor was developed by the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). The glossary provides the specific definitions of commonly used terms.

The Health Benefits Advisor is one of a series of elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to help employers and employees understand their rights and responsibilities under Federal employment laws. To view the entire list of elaws Advisors please visit the elaws website. To learn more about DOL's efforts to ensure the security of the retirement, health and other workplace-related benefits of America's workers and their families, visit the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) website.