Benefits http://blog.dol.gov/ en New Guidance on Havana Syndrome Workers’ Comp Claims http://blog.dol.gov/2022/02/03/new-guidance-on-havana-syndrome-workers-comp-claims <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">New Guidance on Havana Syndrome Workers’ Comp Claims</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><!-- START TWITTER CARD --><meta name="twitter:card" content="summary_large_image" /><link href="https://blog.dol.gov/2022/02/03/new-guidance-on-havana-syndrome-workers-comp-claims" rel="canonical" /><meta name="twitter:title" content="New Guidance on Havana Syndrome Workers’ Comp Claims" /><meta name="twitter:image:alt" content="A woman with a headache holds her head/&gt;&lt;meta name=" twitter:description="" /><meta name="twitter:image" content="https://blog.dol.gov/sites/default/files/inline-images/HavanaSyndrome_BW_800.png" /><meta property="og:image:url" content="https://blog.dol.gov/sites/default/files/inline-images/HavanaSyndrome_BW_800.png" /><meta property="og:image:type" content="image/png" /><meta property="og:image:alt" content="A woman with a headache holds her head" /><!-- END TWITTER CARD --><img alt="A woman with a headache holds her head" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="827f3eec-0cc7-44e3-a412-4768ef08b390" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/HavanaSyndrome_BW_800.png" class="align-center" width="800" height="400" loading="lazy" /><p>In recent years, and predominantly overseas, some federal employees have reported a series of sudden sensory events – such as sounds, pressure or heat – with or just before the sudden onset of symptoms like headaches, pain, nausea or vertigo. Because these symptoms were first reported by personnel stationed in Cuba, they are sometimes referred to as Havana Syndrome.</p> <p>My office is responsible for administering the Federal Employees Compensation Act, which covers workers injured in the performance of duty or who have diseases proximately caused by federal employment. </p> <p>We recently published a <a href="https://www.dol.gov/agencies/owcp/FECA/regs/compliance/DFECfolio/FECABulletins/FY2020-2024#FECAB2203">bulletin with targeted guidance on processing claims for Havana Syndrome</a>, which fall under the category of anomalous health incidents (known as AHIs). The bulletin covers claim intake, the factual review process, information about the medical review, adjudication and more. Here are a few things to know:</p> <ul><li> <p>Our process and the benefits provided under FECA are separate from the <a href="https://www.congress.gov/117/plaws/publ46/PLAW-117publ46.pdf">Havana Act signed by President Biden in October 2021</a>. We don’t consider compensation under the Havana Act to be a prohibited dual benefit, and no offset of FECA benefits is required.</p> </li> <li> <p>Claimants who sustain an injury as the result of an AHI should file <a href="https://www.ecomp.dol.gov/#/">Form CA-1, Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation</a>.</p> </li> <li> <p>A fully rationalized medical opinion on the causal relationship is not needed if the employee was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, but an opinion from a physician is required for other conditions.</p> </li> <li> <p>While all medical evidence should be submitted from a qualifying physician, claimants located in remote areas overseas who may have limited access to a physician may submit a report from a nurse or physician’s assistant. If the employing agency has a qualifying physician available stateside, that physician may then review and provide concurrence with the nurse or physician’s assistant’s report. Alternatively, a claims examiner can request review of the report by one of our District Medical Advisors. </p> </li> <li> <p>If the examiner finds a claim is compensable for some conditions, they should issue an acceptance letter immediately for those conditions. Then, the examiner can further develop the other claimed conditions.</p> </li> <li> <p>Claimants may also be eligible for compensation for permanent impairment in certain cases, such as with hearing or vision.</p> </li> </ul><p><a href="https://www.dol.gov/agencies/owcp/FECA/regs/compliance/DFECfolio/FECABulletins/FY2020-2024#FECAB2203">Read the full bulletin here</a>. For questions about the bulletin or the claims process, call us at 202-513-6860 or <a href="https://www.ecomp.dol.gov/#/">contact us online through ECOMP</a> if you’ve already filed a claim.</p> <p><em>Antonio Rios is the director for the Division of Federal Employees’, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Workers’ Compensation Programs.</em></p> <p> </p> </div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/tkoebel" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="Koebel.Tiffany.L@dol.gov">Koebel.Tiffany…</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden"><time datetime="2022-02-03T08:53:36-05:00" title="Thursday, February 3, 2022 - 08:53" class="datetime">Thu, 02/03/2022 - 08:53</time> </span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-featured-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/HavanaSyndrome_480x360.png" width="480" height="360" alt="A woman with a headache holds her head" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <a href="/taxonomy/term/4261" hreflang="en">Antonio Rios</a> <div class="blog-tags"> <span>Tags:</span> <ul> <li><a href="/tag/workers-compensation" hreflang="en">workers compensation</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/workers-comp" hreflang="en">workers&#039; comp</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/office-of-workers-compensation-programs" hreflang="en">Office of Workers&#039; Compensation Programs</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/federal-employees" hreflang="en">federal employees</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/federal-employees-with-disabilities" hreflang="en">federal employees with disabilities</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/4268" hreflang="en">Havana Act</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/4269" hreflang="en">Havana Syndrome</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/4267" hreflang="en">Federal Employees Compensation Act</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/state-department" hreflang="en">State Department</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/compensation-claims" hreflang="en">compensation claims</a></li> </ul> </div> Thu, 03 Feb 2022 13:53:36 +0000 Koebel.Tiffany.L@dol.gov 4055 at http://blog.dol.gov http://blog.dol.gov/2022/02/03/new-guidance-on-havana-syndrome-workers-comp-claims#comments Preventing Suicide: 5 Workplace Resources http://blog.dol.gov/2021/09/16/preventing-suicide-5-workplace-resources <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Preventing Suicide: 5 Workplace Resources </span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><img src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/suicide-f-800x400.png" data-entity-uuid="570a3d77-dd58-4882-8f4e-7f2155a642a6" data-entity-type="file" alt="September is National Suicide Prevention Month" class="align-center" width="800" height="400" loading="lazy" /><p>There’s no question that the pandemic is taking a toll on our mental health, and that we can do a better job taking care of ourselves and each other. Employers also can play a significant role in supporting and accommodating workers’ mental health needs. During Suicide Prevention Month – and all year round – we’re getting the word out about workplace resources that could save a life.</p><h4>1. EARN’s Mental Health Toolkit </h4><p><a href="https://askearn.org/mentalhealth/" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">This award-winning toolkit from EARN</a>, the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion, outlines steps to help meet workers’ mental health needs. It’s built on the “4 As” – awareness, accommodations, assistance and access.  </p><h4>2. Resources on accommodations for mental health conditions</h4><p>Workers and employers can learn more about accommodations for mental health conditions from the Job Accommodation Network. <a href="https://askjan.org/disabilities/Mental-Health-Conditions.cfm" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">Browse by limitation or by work-related function to see accommodations options</a>. Still have questions? Contact JAN at 800-526-7234, 877-781-9403 (TTY) or via <a href="https://chat.askjan.org/newchat/chat.aspx?domain=chat.askjan.org" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">live chat</a>.</p><h4>3. Tips for understanding your health plan’s mental health benefits </h4><p>Did you know your workplace health plan may cover treatment and services for mental health and substance use disorders? <a href="https://blog.dol.gov/2021/05/12/5-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-mental-health-and-substance-use-disorder-benefits" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">See these five tips to help you make the most of those benefits</a> and other resources available through your workplace health plan. </p><h4>4. Job-protected leave for mental health services </h4><p>Do you or a family member need time off work to get treatment for a mental health condition? Eligible workers who are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act may be able to take protected leave for a serious health condition, or to care for a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition. <a href="https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla/employee-guide" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">Check out our plain-language guide to learn more</a>.  </p><h4>5. Construction industry help</h4><p>The <a href="https://www.osha.gov/preventingsuicides" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s has curated resources</a> specific to the construction industry, which has a <a href="https://blog.dol.gov/2021/09/08/workplace-suicide-prevention-safety-programs-can-save-a-life">high rate of suicide</a> compared with other industries. </p><p><em>Note: If you’re having trouble coping with work-related stress, there is confidential 24/7 support. Call 1-800-273-8255, para español 1-888-628-9454. Or chat online at </em><a href="https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank"><em>suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat</em></a><em>.</em></p></div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/tkoebel" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="Koebel.Tiffany.L@dol.gov">Koebel.Tiffany…</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden"><time datetime="2021-09-16T14:27:31-04:00" title="Thursday, September 16, 2021 - 14:27" class="datetime">Thu, 09/16/2021 - 14:27</time> </span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-featured-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/Suicide_480x360.png" width="480" height="360" alt="September is National Suicide Prevention Month" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <a href="/author/office-public-affairs" hreflang="en">Office of Public Affairs</a> <div class="blog-tags"> <span>Tags:</span> <ul> <li><a href="/tag/occupational-safety-and-health-administration-osha" hreflang="en">Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/employee-benefits-security-administration" hreflang="en">Employee Benefits Security Administration</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/wage-and-hour-division-whd" hreflang="en">Wage and Hour Division (WHD)</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/office-of-disability-employment-policy-odep" hreflang="en">Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/mental-health" hreflang="en">mental health</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/4169" hreflang="en">suicide prevention</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/job-accommodation-network" hreflang="en">Job Accommodation Network</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/employer-assistance-and-resource-network" hreflang="en">Employer Assistance and Resource Network</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/family-and-medical-leave-act" hreflang="en">Family and Medical Leave Act</a></li> </ul> </div> Thu, 16 Sep 2021 18:27:31 +0000 Koebel.Tiffany.L@dol.gov 3927 at http://blog.dol.gov http://blog.dol.gov/2021/09/16/preventing-suicide-5-workplace-resources#comments 4 Mental Health Resources for Employers http://blog.dol.gov/2021/05/19/4-mental-health-resources-for-employers <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">4 Mental Health Resources for Employers</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><!-- START TWITTER CARD --><meta name="twitter:card" content="summary_large_image" /><link href="https://blog.dol.gov/2021/05/19/4-mental-health-resources-for-employers" rel="canonical" /><meta name="twitter:title" content="4 Mental Health Resources for Employers" /><meta name="twitter:image:alt" content="Mental Health Resources for Employers." /><meta name="twitter:description" content="Employers: Do you know the federal requirements for mental health benefits? " /><meta name="twitter:image" content="https://blog.dol.gov/sites/default/files/inline-images/Mental%20Health%20Month-Update-800%E2%80%8A%C3%97%E2%80%8A400.png" /><meta property="og:image:url" content="https://blog.dol.gov/sites/default/files/inline-images/Mental%20Health%20Month-Update-800%E2%80%8A%C3%97%E2%80%8A400.png" /><meta property="og:image:type" content="image/png" /><meta property="og:image:alt" content="Mental Health Resources for Employers." /><!-- END TWITTER CARD --><img alt="Mental Health Resources for Employers. Green ribbon on a blue background." data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="3f256bac-06b5-4d93-874f-6a344b9f3221" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Mental%20Health%20Month-Update-800%E2%80%8A%C3%97%E2%80%8A400.png" class="align-center" width="800" height="400" loading="lazy" /><p style="margin-bottom:11px">The coronavirus pandemic has put a spotlight on the importance of access to mental health benefits. It also has highlighted how important it is for employers to understand and comply with the law that applies to mental health and substance use disorder benefits.</p> <p>The most important thing to know is that under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, all health plans with 50 or more participants must apply similar rules to mental health and substance use disorder benefits as they do for physical health benefits. And recent changes to the law require greater documentation for certain limits and other restrictions placed on mental health benefits, to help ensure compliance.</p> <p>If you are an employer or plan service provider with questions on complying with the law, you can take advantage of the resources the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration has to help you this Mental Health Awareness Month.</p> <ol><li> <p><strong>Compliance Assistance Webcast. </strong>On Thursday, May 27, from 2-3 p.m. ET, join our free webcast on recently enacted changes to the law made by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, answers to new frequently asked questions, and other guidance and tools. <a href="https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/EBSA/temporary-postings/webcast-mhpaea-ca.pdf" target="_blank">Get more information and register here</a>.</p> </li> </ol><ol start="2"><li> <p><strong>Self-Compliance Tool.</strong> Our <a href="https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/EBSA/laws-and-regulations/laws/mental-health-parity/self-compliance-tool.pdf" target="_blank">online self-compliance tool</a> consists of questions and examples to help employers assess whether their plans are in compliance with the federal mental health requirements. These include rules relating to coverage limits, medical management standards and preauthorization.</p> </li> </ol><ol start="3"><li> <p><strong>Frequently Asked Questions. </strong>We have created a series of answers to <a href="https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/laws-and-regulations/laws/mental-health-and-substance-use-disorder-parity" target="_blank">frequently asked questions</a> to help you understand federal law.</p> </li> </ol><ol start="4"><li> <p><strong>Publications. </strong>You can find publications to help you understand and comply with the law on our website, including the mental health parity section in our <a href="https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/EBSA/about-ebsa/our-activities/resource-center/publications/compliance-assistance-guide-mhpaea.pdf" target="_blank">Health Benefits Laws Compliance Assistance Guide</a>.</p> </li> </ol><p>If you have questions, <a href="https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/laws-and-regulations/laws/mental-health-and-substance-use-disorder-parity" target="_blank">visit our Mental Health Parity page</a>. You also can contact EBSA’s benefits advisors at <a href="https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/about-ebsa/ask-a-question/ask-ebsa" target="_blank">askebsa.dol.gov</a> or call 1-866-444-3272. </p> <p> </p> <p><em>Ali Khawar is the acting assistant secretary of the department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration.</em></p> <p> </p> </div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/tkoebel" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="Koebel.Tiffany.L@dol.gov">Koebel.Tiffany…</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden"><time datetime="2021-05-19T13:09:36-04:00" title="Wednesday, May 19, 2021 - 13:09" class="datetime">Wed, 05/19/2021 - 13:09</time> </span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-featured-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/Mental%20Health%20Month-Update-480%E2%80%8A%C3%97%E2%80%8A360.png" width="480" height="360" alt="Mental Health Resources for Employers. Green ribbon on a blue background." typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <a href="/taxonomy/term/4086" hreflang="en">Ali Khawar</a> <div class="blog-tags"> <span>Tags:</span> <ul> <li><a href="/tag/mental-health-awareness-month" hreflang="en">Mental Health Awareness Month</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/mental-health" hreflang="en">mental health</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/employee-benefits-security-administration" hreflang="en">Employee Benefits Security Administration</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/benefits-advisor" hreflang="en">benefits advisor</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/employer-group-health-plan" hreflang="en">employer group health plan</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/health-benefits" hreflang="en">health benefits</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/health-benefit-plans" hreflang="en">health benefit plans</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/4107" hreflang="en">Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act</a></li> </ul> </div> Wed, 19 May 2021 17:09:36 +0000 Koebel.Tiffany.L@dol.gov 3834 at http://blog.dol.gov http://blog.dol.gov/2021/05/19/4-mental-health-resources-for-employers#comments 5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Benefits http://blog.dol.gov/2021/05/12/5-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-mental-health-and-substance-use-disorder-benefits <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Benefits </span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><!-- START TWITTER CARD --><meta name="twitter:card" content="summary_large_image" /><link href="https://blog.dol.gov/2021/05/12/5-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-mental-health-and-substance-use-disorder-benefits" rel="canonical" /><meta name="twitter:title" content="5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Benefits" /><meta name="twitter:image:alt" content="Green ribbon and the text, making the most of your mental health benefits." /><meta name="twitter:description" content="During Mental Health Awareness Month, here are five tips to help you make the most of your mental health and other benefits." /><meta name="twitter:image" content="https://blog.dol.gov/sites/default/files/inline-images/Mental%20Health%20Month-BENE-800%E2%80%8A%C3%97%E2%80%8A400.png" /><meta property="og:image:url" content="https://blog.dol.gov/sites/default/files/inline-images/Mental%20Health%20Month-BENE-800%E2%80%8A%C3%97%E2%80%8A400.png" /><meta property="og:image:type" content="image/png" /><meta property="og:image:alt" content="Green ribbon and the text, making the most of your mental health benefits." /><!-- END TWITTER CARD --><img alt="A green ribbon for Mental Health Awareness Month with the text &quot;Making the most of your mental health benefits.&quot;" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="72fcb7c5-8ab4-488c-9d20-17e9f011367e" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Mental%20Health%20Month-BENE-800%E2%80%8A%C3%97%E2%80%8A400.png" class="align-center" width="800" height="400" loading="lazy" /><p>The coronavirus pandemic not only attacked people’s physical health, but took a serious psychological toll, as well. This Mental Health Awareness Month, we want to make sure that workers who get health benefits through their employers understand what protections are available for mental health and substance use disorders.</p> <p>Here are five tips to help you make the most of your mental health and other benefits:</p> <ol><li> <p><strong>The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act provides important protections. </strong>Generally, it requires most health plans to apply similar rules to mental health and substance use disorder benefits as they do for physical health benefits.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Check to make sure your health plan offers benefits for mental health and substance use disorders, sometimes called MH/SUD benefits. </strong>If your employer’s health plan offers coverage for MH/SUD benefits, then these protections apply. Review your summary of benefits and coverage and/or summary plan description to identify your benefits and your rights under the plan.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Health plans must apply comparable copays and can’t impose separate deductibles and yearly visits, etc. for MH/SUD care and other medical services. </strong>For example, a health plan can’t impose a $30 copay for substance use disorder visits, but no copay for chiropractic visits.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>You are entitled to many documents related to your health plan’s MH/SUD and other medical benefits offered. </strong>For instance, if your plan only covers medically necessary treatments, you can request the plan’s medical necessity criteria for MH/SUD benefits, and information to verify the plan is applying the criteria in a comparable way. This protection also applies to requirements for prior authorization.</p> </li> <li> <p>If you suspect your health plan wrongfully denied a MH/SUD health claim, <strong>you have the right to request information about the limitation the health plan used to deny your claim and file an appeal.</strong></p> </li> </ol><p>For more information about the federal mental health and substance use disorder law visit our website. You can also contact a benefits advisor with your questions by visiting <a href="https://askebsa.dol.gov">askebsa.dol.gov</a> or calling 1-866-444-3272.</p> <p> </p> <p><em>Ali Khawar is the acting assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration.</em></p> <p> </p> </div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/tkoebel" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="Koebel.Tiffany.L@dol.gov">Koebel.Tiffany…</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden"><time datetime="2021-05-12T08:01:23-04:00" title="Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 08:01" class="datetime">Wed, 05/12/2021 - 08:01</time> </span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-featured-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/Mental%20Health%20Month-600x400.png" width="600" height="409" alt="A green ribbon for Mental Health Awareness Month with the text &quot;Making the most of your mental health benefits.&quot;" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <a href="/taxonomy/term/4086" hreflang="en">Ali Khawar</a> <div class="blog-tags"> <span>Tags:</span> <ul> <li><a href="/tag/employee-benefits-security-administration" hreflang="en">Employee Benefits Security Administration</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/mental-health-awareness-month" hreflang="en">Mental Health Awareness Month</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/mental-health" hreflang="en">mental health</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/health-benefits" hreflang="en">health benefits</a></li> </ul> </div> Wed, 12 May 2021 12:01:23 +0000 Koebel.Tiffany.L@dol.gov 3830 at http://blog.dol.gov http://blog.dol.gov/2021/05/12/5-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-mental-health-and-substance-use-disorder-benefits#comments 3 Ways the American Rescue Plan Helps People Who Lost Jobs Afford Health Coverage http://blog.dol.gov/2021/04/07/3-ways-the-american-rescue-plan-helps-people-who-lost-jobs-afford-health-coverage <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">3 Ways the American Rescue Plan Helps People Who Lost Jobs Afford Health Coverage </span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><!-- START TWITTER CARD --><meta name="twitter:card" content="summary_large_image" /><link href="https://blog.dol.gov/2021/04/07/3-ways-the-american-rescue-plan-helps-people-who-lost-jobs-afford-health-coverage" rel="canonical" /><meta name="twitter:title" content="3 Ways the American Rescue Plan Helps People Who Lost Jobs Afford Health Coverage" /><meta name="twitter:image:alt" content="You may qualify for 100% coverage of your COBRA premiums thanks to the American Rescue Plan." /><meta name="twitter:description" content="If you’ve lost your job or had your hours reduced because of the pandemic, you may qualify for 100% coverage of your COBRA premiums." /><meta name="twitter:image" content="https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/OPA/twitter-cards/20210407-cobra-blog-large.png" /><meta property="og:image:url" content="https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/OPA/twitter-cards/20210407-cobra-blog-large.png" /><meta property="og:image:type" content="image/png" /><meta property="og:image:alt" content="You may qualify for 100% coverage of your COBRA premiums thanks to the American Rescue Plan." /><!-- END TWITTER CARD --><img alt="A photo of a stethoscope with the text &quot;American Rescue Plan: Lost your job? Had your hours reduced? You may qualify for 100% coverage of COBRA premiums.&quot;" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="759089e6-939f-4381-a20d-ee480b0ccfc0" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/cobra-arp-blog2.png" class="align-center" width="800" height="533" loading="lazy" /><p>The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a devastating toll on the lives and livelihood of millions of Americans. As workers have lost their jobs, experienced a reduction in hours or struggled to find full-time employment, many are enduring yet another crisis: the potential of losing or being unable to afford health insurance.</p> <p>Thankfully, there is a program in place to help workers and their families maintain coverage. Thirty-five years ago this week, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, also known as "COBRA," was signed into law. It provides a way for workers and their families to temporarily maintain their employer-provided health insurance during situations such as job loss or a reduction in hours worked. And in 2021, the <a href="https://www.dol.gov/general/american-rescue-plan">American Rescue Plan</a> included provisions providing COBRA premium assistance to help workers afford this health coverage. Here’s what you should know:</p> <p><strong>1) Starting April 1, eligible workers and family members do not have to pay COBRA premiums through the end of September. </strong>If you lost your job or your hours were reduced, you may be eligible for this assistance.</p> <p><strong>2) You may be able to elect COBRA coverage and take advantage of the premium assistance under the American Rescue Plan even if you didn’t sign up for COBRA coverage when it was first offered, or if you had COBRA coverage and then dropped it. </strong>Your health plan must provide you with notice of your rights to the premium subsidy and the new election opportunity.</p> <p><strong>3) You may have other affordable health coverage options. </strong>The American Rescue Plan increased eligibility for tax credits that may lower or eliminate your premium for Health Insurance Marketplace coverage. <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/">Visit HealthCare.gov to learn more</a>.</p> <p>Ensure you have the health coverage you need right now by taking advantage of these benefits under the American Rescue Plan.</p> <p>Find out more about the COBRA premium subsidy by visiting <a href="https://www.dol.gov/COBRA-subsidy">dol.gov/COBRA-subsidy</a>, or contact a benefits advisor in the Employee Benefits Security Administration if you have questions by visiting <a href="https://www.askebsa.dol.gov/" target="_blank">askebsa.dol.gov</a> or calling 1-866-444-3272.</p> <p> </p> <p><em>Ali Khawar is the acting assistant secretary of the department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration.</em></p> <p> </p> </div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/tkoebel" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="Koebel.Tiffany.L@dol.gov">Koebel.Tiffany…</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden"><time datetime="2021-04-07T13:05:20-04:00" title="Wednesday, April 7, 2021 - 13:05" class="datetime">Wed, 04/07/2021 - 13:05</time> </span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-featured-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/cobra-arp-blog-featured.png" width="669" height="491" alt="A photo of a stethoscope with the text &quot;American Rescue Plan: Lost your job? Had your hours reduced? You may qualify for 100% coverage of COBRA premiums.&quot;" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <a href="/taxonomy/term/4086" hreflang="en">Ali Khawar</a> <div class="blog-tags"> <span>Tags:</span> <ul> <li><a href="/tag/employee-benefits-security-administration" hreflang="en">Employee Benefits Security Administration</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/cobra" hreflang="en">COBRA</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/4084" hreflang="en">American Rescue Plan</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/health-insurance-marketplace" hreflang="en">Health Insurance Marketplace</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/health-insurance" hreflang="en">health insurance</a></li> <li><a href="/tag/health-coverage" hreflang="en">health coverage</a></li> </ul> </div> Wed, 07 Apr 2021 17:05:20 +0000 Koebel.Tiffany.L@dol.gov 3801 at http://blog.dol.gov http://blog.dol.gov/2021/04/07/3-ways-the-american-rescue-plan-helps-people-who-lost-jobs-afford-health-coverage#comments Remembering a True Public Servant: Alan Lebowitz http://blog.dol.gov/2019/10/21/remembering-a-true-public-servant-alan-lebowitz <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Remembering a True Public Servant: Alan Lebowitz</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><figure role="group" class="caption caption-img align-right"><img alt="Alan D. Lebowitz" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="ca7087ec-20de-4a7c-887a-9126c2b46f95" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/ALoff_Artboard%201.png" width="400" height="300" loading="lazy" /><figcaption>Alan D. Lebowitz, first Deputy Assistant Secretary of EBSA</figcaption></figure><p><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:normal"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">In September, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) lost a true pioneer, its greatest individual influence, and dearest friend, Alan D. Lebowitz.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:normal"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">Alan was the first Deputy Assistant Secretary of EBSA and its preceding agencies. He spent nearly three decades of his 43-year federal career crafting and shaping the agency’s <span style="background:white"><span style="color:#212121">regulatory, compliance assistance, public outreach, education, and enforcement programs. When he retired in 2013, he left his influence on nearly every part of the agency.</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:normal"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">Alan dedicated himself to protecting the hard-earned savings of America’s workers and families. Throughout his career, he saw<span style="color:black"> more than $20.1 billion in benefits restored to American workers and their families, and helped secure more than 2,300 criminal indictments against those who defrauded workers out of their retirement and healthcare benefits. He also played an outsized role in the Department of Labor’s enforcement efforts, including its actions to protect workers and retirees and the assets of their retirement plans from the Enron and Madoff scandals.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:normal"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif"><span style="color:black">Recognizing the need for fast and effective compliance assistance, Alan spearheaded the effort to create a team of </span></span></span><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif"><a href="https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/about-ebsa/ask-a-question/ask-ebsa" style="color:#0563c1; text-decoration:underline">Benefits Advisors</a><span style="color:black"> to answer questions directly from the public by phone and email, and annually resolve thousands of benefits disputes. The program has served more than 3.1 million Americans and has been recognized as one of the best customer services operations in government – recovering more than $2.1 billion in benefits since the program was founded.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:normal"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif"><span style="color:black">With an eye to the future, </span></span></span><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">Alan coordinated with the Internal Revenue Service and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to develop an <a href="https://www.efast.dol.gov/" style="color:#0563c1; text-decoration:underline">online system for plans to file legally required annual reports</a>. The new electronic filing system went live in 2009, ahead of schedule and under budget. His efforts modernized the reporting process, <span style="color:black">reduced employer burden, and improved the accessibility of retirement plan data.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:normal"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">Alan was recognized for his extraordinary executive and managerial abilities throughout his career. He received the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award in 1987 and the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award in 1991. In 1999, he received both the Department of Labor’s prestigious Philip Arnow Award, given annually to one employee in recognition of superior accomplishments and service to the Department, and the Public Service Award from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. At the time, he was only the second non-member of Congress to receive this prestigious award. Upon his 2013 retirement, EBSA honored Alan’s service and legacy by creating the Alan D. Lebowitz Honorary Award to recognize managers and supervisors who exemplify Alan’s dedication, distinguished career of excellence, and commitment to mentoring future leaders. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:normal"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">Alan led the agency with quiet authority, wry humor, and a clear-eyed focus on the workers that EBSA serves. He was a shrewd and sympathetic boss with a well-developed sense of the absurd, which he viewed as critically important to his long and happy career. He loved Boston, Cape Cod, his family, his colleagues, and his agency.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:normal"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif"><span style="color:black">For all he did for EBSA and the American public, we remember Alan most as a thoughtful leader, wise mentor, dedicated husband, father and grandfather, and loyal friend. His influence will long outlive his time at EBSA’s helm. None who knew him will soon forget his commitment to public service, and to the people he loved.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img align-center"><img alt="Alan Lebowitz at his desk." data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="0cd8b2f4-5de0-49d5-a785-851b4511cb4d" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/AL2_Artboard%201.png" width="800" height="500" loading="lazy" /><figcaption>Alan Lebowitz at his desk</figcaption></figure><p><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:normal"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><i><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">Timothy D. Hauser is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Office Operations in the Department of Labor's <a href="https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa" style="color:#0563c1; text-decoration:underline">Employee Benefits Security Administration</a>.</span></span></i></span></span></span></p> </div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/lmcginnis" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="McGinnis.Laura.K@dol.gov">McGinnis.Laura…</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden"><time datetime="2019-10-21T09:37:16-04:00" title="Monday, October 21, 2019 - 09:37" class="datetime">Mon, 10/21/2019 - 09:37</time> </span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-featured-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/blog-20191021-Alan-featured.png" width="251" height="377" alt="Alan Lebowitz" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <a href="/author/timothy-hauser" hreflang="en">Timothy Hauser</a> Mon, 21 Oct 2019 13:37:16 +0000 McGinnis.Laura.K@dol.gov 3678 at http://blog.dol.gov http://blog.dol.gov/2019/10/21/remembering-a-true-public-servant-alan-lebowitz#comments