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8 Mar
2019

Do All Employees Have to Be Offered the Same Benefits?

Do All Employees Have to Be Offered the Same Benefits

do all employees have to be offered the same benefits

Do all employees have to be offered the same benefits? Employers are not required to offer all employees the same benefits. Generally, employers are not legally bound to provide employees with benefits such as such as vacations, pensions, health insurance, or profit-sharing plans. However if an employer decides to provide those benefits, they cannot be provided in a way that is discriminatory. Therefore an employee cannot be denied benefits or receive lower benefits based on age, race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, disability or genetic information.

Do All Employees Have To Be Offered The Same Benefits?

Do all employees have to be offered the same benefits? When structuring benefits plans, employers have the discretion to make distinctions among employee populations regarding access to and the level of benefits offered. Different insurance plans may be offered to employees based only on bona fide employment-based classifications that is consistent with the employer’s usual business practice

Group Health Insurance Discrimination Rules

Group health insurance discrimination rules are set out in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Group health plans and group health insurance are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with regard to eligibility, premiums, or coverage based upon a health status-related factor.

There are eight health factors that the Act prohibits from being used to discriminate in health coverage among individuals. These are:
1. health status
2. medical condition (this includes both physical and mental illnesses)
3. disability
4. claims experience
5. receipt of health care
6. medical history
7. genetic information
8. evidence of insurability (this includes conditions arising out of acts of domestic violence and participation in risky recreational activities)

Classing Out Employees Health Insurance

Classing out employees health insurance based on HIPAA, requires that employee classifications must be based on a bona-fide employment-based classification. Similarly situated individuals should be classed into distinct groups for the purpose of providing different health benefits. Such classification may include:

• Employee seniority
• Job title
• Full-time or part-time status
• Salary versus hourly workers
• Whether an employee works in or out of location
• Union vs. non-union members
• Current vs. former employee
• Relationship to the plan participants

Employer Contribution to Health Insurance Discrimination

In conclusion, employer contribution to health insurance discrimination must be consistent with HIPAA provisions and the employer’s usual business practice. As long as these two conditions are satisfied, the employer is not liable.

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