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EMPLOYMENT LAW GUIDE: - page 28 / 134

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contain detailed information regarding the employee and/or beneficiary’s right to elect

COBRA continuation.

I.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), 42 U.S.C.

§ 1301, et seq., mandates continuity of health insurance coverage, including coverage under

group health plans offered by employers. HIPAA applies to group health plans with two or

more current employees as participants. It applies to self-insured plans as well as insurance

and health maintenance organizations.

HIPAA limits exclusions for pre-existing conditions and prohibits discrimination

against employees and beneficiaries because of their health history. Under certain

circumstances, HIPAA affords an opportunity for individuals to enroll in a new health

insurance plan.

HIPAA limits the effect of pre-existing condition exclusions by implementing a

procedure for crediting previous health coverage. This is called “creditable coverage.”

HIPAA also requires the issuance of a certificate that shows creditable coverage. A

certificate of creditable coverage must be provided whenever an eligible individual loses

coverage under an insurance plan, is entitled to elect COBRA continuation coverage or

exhausts COBRA continuation coverage. Certificates are to be provided automatically and

free of charge.

J.

Wage & Hour Laws

In Massachusetts, wage payments, overtime, and vacation pay are governed by Mass.

Gen. L. chs. 149 and 151, and most employers also are covered by the federal Fair Labor

Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. These statutes and their implementing

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