DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

Blog Author Angelique Sanders

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with regulations from OSHA, NFPA, and other safety codes. Find out about other companies' best and worst practices. We scour the internet to provide you with helpful training resources and the latest safety information.

Monday, February 25, 2013

OSHA Publishes Final Rule Covering Affordable Car Act Whistleblower Protection

OSHA has published an interim final rule in the Federal Register that governs whistleblower complaints filed under Section 1558 of the Affordable Care Act.  Section 1558 of the Affordable Care Act authorizes OSHA to provide protection against retaliation by an employers when an employee reports an alleged violations of Title I of the act, or for receiving a tax credit or cost-sharing reduction as a result of participating in a Health Insurance Exchange or Marketplace.

Title I includes a range of insurance company accountability policies, such as the prohibition of lifetime limits on coverage and exclusions due to pre-existing conditions. If an employee reports a violation of one of these policies or requirements, the act's whistleblower provision prohibits employers from retaliating against the employee. If an employee is retaliated against in violation of the whistleblower provision, he or she may file a complaint with, and ultimately receive relief from, OSHA or the courts.

The Affordable Care Act authorizes the secretary of labor to conduct investigations into complaints and issue determinations. These functions have been delegated to OSHA by the secretary of labor.

OSHA's interim final rule establishes the procedures and time frames for the filing and handling of such complaints, including investigations by OSHA, appeals of OSHA determinations to an administrative law judge for a hearing, review of such decisions by the Administrative Review Board and judicial review of the secretary's final decision.

The interim final rule can be viewed at www.dol.gov/find/20130222/. Comments, which will be accepted for 60 days, may be submitted electronically via the federal e-rulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov, or by mail or fax. Faxed submissions, including attachments, must not exceed 10 pages and should be sent to the OSHA Docket Office at 202-693-1648. Comments submitted by mail should be addressed to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. OSHA-2011-0193, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-2625, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20210.

A fact sheet about filing whistleblower complaints under the Affordable Care Act is available at http://www.osha.gov/Publications/whistleblower/OSHAFS-3641.pdf.

The press release from OSHA also noted that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also issued a final rule that implements five provisions of the Affordable Care Act.  These are:
  • Guaranteed Availability
    Nearly all health insurance companies offering coverage to individuals and employers will be required to sell health insurance policies to all consumers. No one can be denied health insurance because they have or had an illness.
  • Fair Health Insurance Premiums
    Premiums may only vary based on age, tobacco use, family size, and geography. 
  • Guaranteed Renewability
    Coverage must be renewed without regard to the health of an individual.
  • Single Risk Pool
    Individuals may not be moved into separate risk pools that charge higher premiums.
  • Catastrophic Plans
    Young adults and people for whom coverage would otherwise be unaffordable will have access to a catastrophic plan in the individual market.  Catastrophic plans generally will have lower premiums, protect against high out-of-pocket costs, and cover recommended preventive services without cost sharing.


posted by Steve Hudgik
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