|May 1, 2009 | www.fisherphillips.com|
Michelle's Law will take effect beginning October 9, 2009 (or January 1, 2010 for calendar year plans). It requires group health plans and group-health-plan-insurance issuers to continue coverage for dependent college students when they are forced to take a medically necessary leave of absence from school. The law was named after Michelle Morse, a college student in New Hampshire who was diagnosed with cancer but continued her studies on a full-time basis in order to avoid losing her health coverage under her parents' plan.
Employers wishing to reduce labor costs during these rough economic times may be considering eliminating matching contributions or other employer contributions to their tax qualified profit sharing and 401(k) plans. While its perfectly legal to make such changes, make sure that the plan documentation is properly and timely amended. Plan documentation includes the actual plan document, which can include both an adoption agreement and master plan document for prototype arrangements, and the Summary Plan Description.
Group health plans that were required to comply with privacy requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) by April 14, 2003 (i.e., large health plans) now have an obligation to notify individuals who are covered by the plan that the privacy notice is available, and to tell them how to obtain the notice. This reminder notice must be sent at least once every three years.