Staying Healthy With EBSA

by Phyllis Borzi on April 24, 2014 · 0 comments

True or false: The best way to enjoy potato salad is after it sits in a hot car for a few days.

If you think that sounds like a bad idea, you’re right. And if you think it sounds like an easy question – well, you’re right about that too.

Some health questions are easy to answer, and most people have a good sense of what they need to do to stay healthy. We all know the benefits of nutritious food, regular exercise and getting physical check-ups.

But when we start talking about the specifics, the questions get harder. What are the most nutritious foods? What kind of exercise is best for your lifestyle? How often should you get check-ups, and where? And how much does it cost to stay healthy?

At the Employee Benefits Security Administration, we may not be authorities on nutrition or exercise, but we can help you understand many of the laws that contribute to your health. And when it comes to employee health benefits and the law, there are a lot of specifics.  EBSA doesn’t have all the answers, but we do administer several important health benefit laws covering employer-based plans. That’s important because roughly 56 percent of all people who have insurance get it through their employers.

These laws ensure people’s rights to know how their plans work, plus how to qualify for and claim benefits. Some of them even cover people when they lose or change jobs. We’ll be talking about that and more on April 24, when we join thousands of workplaces across the country by recognizing Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

As a former English teacher, I always look forward to the opportunity teach kids about the important work their parents – my colleagues – do on a daily basis.

We enforce laws like COBRA, HIPAA and the Affordable Care Act. We educate people about how to make their health benefits work for them. And our Benefits Advisors can help people figure out their options.

For example, many people know they can get health coverage through COBRA if they move to a new state and have to quit their job. But did you know that if your COBRA coverage expires, you can apply for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace through a special enrollment period – even if it’s not enrollment season?

We may not be doctors or nutritionists, but by administering these laws, we’re doing our part to make sure America’s workers and their families enjoy good health.

Phyllis C. Borzi is the assistant secretary of labor for employee benefits security.

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