Your Rights and Protections Under the FMLA

Being away from work for an extended period of time doesn’t always feel like a vacation. If you are taking time off work under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you likely have enough to worry about without job insecurity compounding your stress. FMLA offers some protection so you can focus on the critical task of healing yourself or caring for your loved one during your leave.FMLA ExplainedThe Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law that provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain qualifying health and family reasons. These weeks can be used within a 12-month period without the threat of being fired for the absence. The time does not have to be taken consecutively and can be used periodically throughout the 12 months if needed. Additional time is also available in limited circumstances.A worker may be eligible for FMLA if they:Have been employed with their company for at least one year;Have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in the past 12 months; andAre employed in a location with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.There are exceptions to these rules, as is the case with most laws and legislation....

Parity for mental health benefits

The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury recently issued a final rule increasing parity between mental health/substance use disorder benefits and medical/surgical benefits in group and individual health plans. The final rule implements the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, and ensures that health plan features like co-pays, deductibles and visits limits are generally not more restrictive f or mental health/substance abuse disorders benefits than they are for medical/surgical benefits. The final rule also includes specific additional consumer protections, such as:Ensuring that parity applies to intermediate levels of care received in residential treatment or intensive outpatient settings;Clarifying the scope of the transparency required by health plans, including the disclosure rights of plan participants, to ensure compliance with the law;Clarifying that parity applies to all plan standards, including geographic limits, f acility-type limits and network adequacy; andEliminating an exception to the existing parity rule that was determined to be conf using, unnecessary and open to abuse.The Affordable Care Act builds on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and requires coverage of mental health and substance use disorder services as one of ten essential health benefits categories. Under the essential health benefits rule, individual and small group health plans are required...

Health Insurance Marketplace coming soon

Courtesy of the Affordable Care Act, a new way to get affordable health insurance launches October 1.