Almost anything can be done electronically these days, and some employers would like to use electronic communications for the many required notices and documents for their employer-sponsored health plans. The convenience and possible cost-savings of electronic notices are certainly tempting. But both the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of the Treasury have placed significant limits and conditions on the use of electronic communications to provide required notices to health plan participants and beneficiaries. While the electronic communication regulations of the two agencies are similar in some respects, they also have some important differences, so it is important to understand which agency requires which notices and exactly which requirements apply. A failure to meet the requirements of the regulations can result in a determination that notices have not been provided, possible enforcement action by the relevant agency, or lawsuits by participants or beneficiaries who have been harmed by improper electronic notices.
Join Christine Williams, senior counsel at Perkins Coie, LLP as she explains the electronic notices for employer-sponsored health plan rules and how to avoid problems.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN
This webinar will cover:
- Which notices and documents are subject to the DOL regulations and which are subject to Treasury regulations?
- What are the specific requirements of the DOL regulations?
- What are the specific requirements of Treasury regulations?
- Are CDs and internet postings considered electronic communications subject to the regulations?
- Under what conditions is an affirmative consent to electronic communications required from the participant or beneficiary?
- Are there specific hardware and software requirements that apply to electronic communications?
- May health flexible spending account enrollment and elections be handled electronically?
- Does the content of an electronic communication have to be the same as if the notice were provided on paper?
- What participant or beneficiary identity verification is required when notices or documents are provided electronically?
- AND MUCH MORE!
YOUR CONFERENCE LEADER
Your conference leader for “Electronic Notices for Employer-Sponsored Health Plans: Know the Rules and Avoid Problems” is Christine Williams. Ms. Williams has worked in the employee benefits field since 1987, both in private practice and as in-house counsel to a Fortune 100 company, and recently founded HealthPlanPlainTalk.com, an online resource for benefit plan sponsors and employee benefit professionals. She has extensive experience with all types of health and welfare plans, and was the editor and a contributing author of HIPAA Portability, Privacy, & Security, published by the Employee Benefits Institute of America (EBIA), a division of Thomson Reuters, and is now a contributor to that publication. She was a contributing author of Health Care Reform for Employers and Advisors, also published by EBIA. She has provided advice on HIPAA, health care reform, and benefit plan compliance to a wide range of health plans, employers that sponsor health plans, and business associates, and she regularly teaches seminars for employee benefit professionals. Before moving into employee benefits, Ms. Williams was a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice and an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Law. She earned her J.D. degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law.