Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Labor Department proposes rules for Affordable Care Act


DECEMBER 2011 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Labor Department proposes rules for Affordable Care Act


REGION, December 5th- The United States Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration on December 5th announced two proposed rules under the Affordable Care Act to protect businesses and workers whose health benefits are provided through a multiple employer welfare arrangement.

The multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWA’s) frequently have been used by scam artists and criminals to defraud consumers, resulting in an inability to pay medical claims. When such multiple employer welfare arrangement become insolvent, they may leave consumers with substantial unpaid medical bills. For employers or employee organizations that have paid premiums or made contributions to a multiple employer welfare arrangement, and thought they were doing the right thing for their workers and their families, the impact also can be significant.

The proposed rules call for multiple employer welfare arrangement’s to adhere to enhanced reporting requirements so that employers, workers and their families will not unexpectedly be cut off from needed health care services. The rules also will increase the Labor Department’s enforcement authority to protect participants in such plans and allow the department to shut down multiple employer welfare arrangements engaged in fraud or other activities that present an immediate danger to the public safety or welfare.

Since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in March 2010, more than 22.6 million people with Medicare have received free preventive care benefits such as screenings and vaccinations, and another 2.2 million have saved more than $1.2 billion on their prescription drugs, an average savings of $550 per person. Additionally, adults under the age of 26 are now able to remain on a parent’s health insurance plan, small businesses and tax-exempt organizations are eligible for tax credits and the denial of coverage to those with pre-existing conditions is coming to an end.

The Employee Benefits Security Administration protects the retirement, health and other workplace related benefits of America’s workers and retirees, and their families. The agency oversees approximately 718,000 private sector retirement plan, 2.5 million health plans and a similar number of other benfit plans that cover roughly 140 million workers, retirees and dependents.

The DOL stated the promoters, marketers and operators of MEWA’s often have taken advantage of gaps in the law to avoid state insurance regulations, such as a requirement to maintain sufficient funding and adequate reserves to pay the health care claims of workers and their families.

Some operators of WEMA’s have drained their assets through excessive administrative fees or outright embezzlement, resulting in harm to participants and their families. In the past some individuals incur significant medical bills before they learn that claims are not being paid, and that they are liable and need their medical bills themselves.

The Affordable Care Act includes provisions designed to remedy those gaps.

No comments so far

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>


(required but not displayed)