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Active Health & Welfare – Rights and Protections

ERISA of 1974
Statement of ERISA Rights Under Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974

As a Participant in the Automotive Industries Welfare Plan you are entitled to certain rights and protections under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). ERISA provides that all plan Participants shall be entitled to:

  • Examine, without charge, at the Plan Administrator’s office and at other specified locations, such as worksites and union halls, all documents governing the Plan, including insurance contracts and collective bargaining agreements, and a copy of the latest annual report (Form 5500 Series) filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, such as Plan descriptions.
  • Obtain, upon written request to the Plan Administrator, copies of documents governing the operation of the plan, including insurance contracts and collective bargaining agreements, and copies of the latest annual report (Form 5500 Series) and updated Summary Plan Description. The Plan Administrator may make a reasonable charge for the copies.
  • Receive a summary of the Plan’s annual financial report. The Plan Administrator is required by law to furnish each Participant with a copy of this summary annual report.
  • Continue health care coverage for yourself, spouse or dependents if there is a loss of coverage under the Plan as a result of a qualifying event. You or your dependents may have to pay for such coverage. Review this Summary Plan Description and the documents governing the Plan on the rules governing your COBRA continuation coverage rights.
  • Have a reduction or elimination of exclusionary periods of coverage for preexisting conditions under your group health plan, if you have creditable coverage from another Plan. You should be provided a certificate of creditable coverage, free of charge, from your group health Plan or health insurance issuer when you lose coverage under the Plan, when you become entitled to elect COBRA continuation coverage, when your COBRA continuation coverage ceases, if you request it before losing coverage, or if you request it up to 24 months after losing coverage. Without evidence of creditable coverage, you may be subject to a preexisting condition exclusion for 12 months (18 months for late enrollees) after your enrollment date in your coverage.

In addition to creating rights for Plan Participants, ERISA imposes duties upon the people who are responsible for the operation of the employee benefit plan. The people who operate your Plan, called “fiduciaries” of the Plan, have a duty to do so prudently and in the interest of you and other Plan Participants and beneficiaries. No one, including your employer, your union, or any other person, may fire you or otherwise discriminate against you in any way to prevent you from obtaining a welfare benefit or exercising your rights under ERISA. If your claim for a welfare benefit is denied in whole or in part, you must receive a written explanation of the reason for the denial. You have the right to have the plan review and reconsider your claim.

Under ERISA, there are steps you can take to enforce the above rights. For instance, if you request materials from the Plan and do not receive them within 30 days, you may file suit in a Federal court. In such a case, the court may require the Plan Administrator to provide the materials and pay you up to $110 a day until you receive the materials, unless the materials were not sent because of reasons beyond the control of the Administrator. If you have a claim for benefits which is denied or ignored in whole or in part, you may file suit in a state or Federal court. In addition, if you disagree with the Plan’s decision or lack thereof concerning the qualified status of a medical child support order, you may file suit in Federal court. However, your right to sue may be limited if you have not exercised your right of appeal.

If it should happen that Plan fiduciaries misuse the Plan’s money, or if you are discriminated against for asserting your rights, you may seek assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor, or you may file suit in a Federal court. The court will decide who should pay court costs and legal fees. If you are successful, the court may order the person you have sued to pay these costs and fees. If you lose, the court may order you to pay these costs and fees if, for example, it finds your claim is frivolous.

If you have any questions about your Plan, you should contact the Plan Administrator. If you have any questions about this statement or about your rights under ERISA, you should contact the nearest office of the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, listed in your telephone directory or the Division of Technical Assistance and Inquiries, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210.

COBRA of 1985
Continuation Coverage Rights under COBRA

Introduction

The right to COBRA continuation coverage was created by a federal law, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA). COBRA continuation coverage can become available to you when you would otherwise lose your group health coverage. It can also become available to other members of your family who are covered under the Plan when they would otherwise lose their group health coverage. For additional information about your rights and obligations under the Plan and under federal law, you should review the Plan’s Summary Plan Description or contact the Fund Office.

What is COBRA Continuation Coverage?

COBRA continuation coverage is a continuation of Plan coverage when coverage would otherwise end because of a life event known as a “qualifying event.” Specific qualifying events are listed later in this notice. After a qualifying event, COBRA continuation coverage must be offered to each person who is a “qualified beneficiary.” You, your spouse, and your dependent children could become qualified beneficiaries if coverage under the Plan is lost because of a qualifying event. Under the Plan, qualified beneficiaries who elect COBRA continuation coverage must pay for COBRA continuation coverage.

You may have other options available to you when you lose group health coverage.  For example, you may be eligible to buy an individual plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace.  By enrolling in coverage through the Marketplace, you may qualify for lower costs on your monthly premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs.  Additionally, you may qualify for a 30-day special enrollment period for another group health plan for which you are eligible (such as a spouse’s plan), even if that plan generally doesn’t accept late enrollees.

When is COBRA Coverage Available?

The Plan will offer COBRA continuation coverage to qualified beneficiaries only after the Fund Office has been notified that a qualifying event has occurred. When the qualifying event is the end of employment or reduction of hours of employment, or death of the employee, the employer must notify the Fund Office of the qualifying event.

You Must Give Notice of Some Qualifying Events

For the other qualifying events (divorce or legal separation of the employee and spouse or a dependent child’s losing eligibility for coverage as a dependent child) you must notify the Fund Office within 60 days after the loss of coverage due to the qualifying event. You must provide this notice to:

Automotive Industries Welfare Fund

c/o Health Services & Benefit Administrators (HSBA)

4160 Dublin Blvd., Suite 400

Dublin, CA 94568

Telephone (800) 635-3105

Fax (925) 588-7121

FOR COMPLETE INFORMATION REGARDING CONTINUATION COVERAGE RIGHTS UNDER COBRA, YOU SHOULD REVIEW THE PLAN’S SUMMARY PLAN DESCRIPTION OR CONTACT THE TRUST FUND OFFICE.  

USERRA of 1994
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act 

If an employee was eligible for benefits as of the date of entry into service in the uniformed services of the United States, and upon completion of the period of service he notifies his employer of his intent to return to employment as specified in the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, eligibility shall be reinstated. An employee who is re-employed with a contributing employer in accord with the provisions of the Act shall be entitled to coverage under the Plan and all rights and benefits under the Plan that the employee would have attained if the employee had remained continuously employed with a contributing employer. In no event shall benefits be provided for illnesses or injuries determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs to have been incurred in or aggravated during performances of services in the Uniformed Services. https://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra

HIPAA of 1996
HIPAA Special Enrollment Rights

After this open enrollment period is completed, generally you will not be allowed to change your benefit elections or add/delete dependents until next years’ open enrollment, unless you have a Special Enrollment Event as outlined below:

Special Enrollment Event

If you are declining enrollment for yourself or your dependents (including your spouse) because of other health insurance or group health plan coverage, you may be able to enroll yourself and your dependents in this plan if you or your dependents lose eligibility for that other coverage (or if your employer stops contributing toward your or your dependents’ other coverage). However, you must request enrollment within 31 days after you or your dependents’ other coverage ends (or after the employer stops contributing towards the other coverage).

In addition, if you have a new dependent as a result of marriage, birth, adoption, or placement for adoption, you may be able to enroll yourself and your dependents. However, you must request enrollment within 31 days after the marriage, birth, adoption, or placement for adoption.

You and your dependents may also enroll in this plan if you (or your dependents):

  • have coverage through Medicaid or a State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and you (or your dependents) lose eligibility for that coverage. However, you must request enrollment within 60 days after the Medicaid or CHIP coverage ends.
  • become eligible for a premium assistance program through Medicaid or CHIP. However, you must request enrollment within 60 days after you (or your dependents) are determined to be eligible for such assistance.

To request special enrollment or obtain more information, contact the Trust Fund Office at (800) 635-3105.  You must notify the Fund in writing within 31 days of the mid-year change in status event by contacting the Fund Office. The Fund Office will determine if your change request is permitted and if so, changes become effective prospectively, on the first day of the month, following the approved change in status event (except for newborn and adopted children, who are covered back to the date of birth, adoption, or placement for adoption).

Failure to give the Fund a timely notice (as noted above) may: 

  • Cause you, your Spouse and/or Dependent Child(ren) to lose the right to obtain COBRA Continuation Coverage,
  • Cause the coverage of a Dependent Child to end when it otherwise might continue because of a disability,
  • Cause claims to not be able to be considered for payment until eligibility issues have been resolved,
  • Result in your liability to repay the Fund if any benefits are paid to an ineligible person.
NMHPA of 1996
Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act

Group health plans and health insurance issuers generally may not, under Federal law, restrict benefits for any hospital length of stay in connection with childbirth for the mother or newborn child to less than 48 hours following normal delivery, or less than 96 hours following a cesarean section. However, Federal law generally does not prohibit the mother’s or newborn’s attending provider, after consulting with the mother, from discharging the mother or her newborn earlier than 48 hours (or 96 hours as applicable). In any case, plans and issuers may not, under Federal law, require that a provider obtain authorization from the plan or the issuer for prescribing a length of stay not in excess of 48 hours (or 96 hours).

WHCRA of 1998
Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (WHCRA)

You or your dependents may be entitled to certain benefits under the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (WHCRA). For individuals receiving mastectomy-related benefits, coverage will be provided in a manner determined in consultation with the attending physician and the patient for:

  • All stages of reconstruction of the breast on which the mastectomy was performed;
  • Surgery and reconstruction of the other breast to produce a symmetrical appearance;
  • Prostheses; and
  • Treatment of physical complications of the mastectomy, including lymphedema.

Plan limits, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance apply to these benefits. For more information on WHCRA benefits, contact the Trust Fund Office at (800) 635-3105.

SCHIP of 1997
Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
Offer Free Or Low-Cost Health Coverage To Children And Families

If you or your children are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP and you’re eligible for health coverage from your employer, your state may have a premium assistance program that can help pay for coverage, using funds from their Medicaid or CHIP programs.  If you or your children aren’t eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, you won’t be eligible for these premium assistance programs but you may be able to buy individual insurance coverage through the

Health Insurance Marketplace.  For more information, visit www.healthcare.gov.

If you or your dependents are already enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP and you live in a State listed below, contact your State Medicaid or CHIP office to find out if premium assistance is available.

If you or your dependents are NOT currently enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP, and you think you or any of your dependents might be eligible for either of these programs, contact your State Medicaid or CHIP office or dial 1-877-KIDS NOW or www.insurekidsnow.gov to find out how to apply.  If you qualify, ask your state if it has a program that might help you pay the premiums for an employer-sponsored plan.

If you or your dependents are eligible for premium assistance under Medicaid or CHIP, as well as eligible under your employer plan, your employer must allow you to enroll in your employer plan if you aren’t already enrolled.  This is called a “special enrollment” opportunity, and you must request coverage within 60 days of being determined eligible for premium assistance. If you have questions about enrolling in your employer plan, contact the Department of Labor at www.askebsa.dol.gov or call 1-866-444-EBSA (3272).

ARRA of 2009
Summary of the COBRA Premium Reduction Provisions under ARRA

President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) on February 17, 2009. The law gives “Assistance Eligible Individuals” the right to pay reduced COBRA premiums for periods of coverage beginning on or after February 17, 2009 and can last up to 9 months.

To be considered an “Assistance Eligible Individual” and get reduced premiums you:

  • MUST be eligible for continuation coverage at any time during the period from September 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009 and elect the coverage;
  • MUST have a continuation coverage election opportunity related to an involuntary termination of employment that occurred at some time from September 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009;
  • MUST NOT be eligible for Medicare; AND
  • MUST NOT be eligible for coverage under any other group health plan, such as a plan sponsored by a successor employer or a spouse’s employer.*

Individuals who experienced a qualifying event as the result of an involuntary termination of employment at any time from September 1, 2008 through February 16, 2009 and were offered, but did not elect, continuation coverage OR who elected continuation coverage and subsequently discontinued it may have the right to an additional 60-day election period.

IMPORTANT

  • If, after you elect COBRA and while you are paying the reduced premium, you become eligible for other group health plan coverage or Medicare you MUST notify the plan in writing. If you do not, you may be subject to a tax penalty.
  • Electing the premium reduction disqualifies you for the Health Coverage Tax Credit. If you are eligible for the Health Coverage Tax Credit, which could be more valuable than the premium reduction, you will have received a notification from the IRS.
  • The amount of the premium reduction is recaptured for certain high income individuals. If the amount you earn for the year is more than $125,000 (or $250,000 for married couples filing a joint federal income tax return) all or part of the premium reduction may be recaptured by an increase in your income tax liability for the year. If you think that your income may exceed the amounts above, you may wish to consider waiving your right to the premium reduction. For more information, consult your tax preparer or visit the IRS webpage on ARRA at www.irs.gov.

For general information regarding your plan’s COBRA coverage, or for specific information related to your plan’s administration of the ARRA Premium Reduction, or to notify the plan of your ineligibility to continue paying reduced premiums, contact the Trust Fund Office at 4160 Dublin Blvd, Suite 400, Dublin, CA 94568, Telephone (800) 635-3105.

If you are denied treatment as an “Assistance Eligible Individual” you may have the right to have the denial reviewed. For more information regarding reviews or for general information about the ARRA Premium Reduction go to: www.dol.gov/COBRA or call 1-866-444-EBSA (3272)

* Generally, this does not include coverage for only dental, vision, counseling, or referral services; coverage under a health flexible spending arrangement; or treatment that is furnished in an on-site medical facility maintained by the employer.

ACA of 2010
PATIENT PROTECTION RIGHTS OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
Designation of a Primary Care Provider (PCP):

Direct Pay Plan:

The Direct Pay plan offered by this Fund does not require the selection or designation of a primary care provider (PCP).  You have the ability to visit any network or non-network health care provider; however, payment by the Plan may be less for the use of a non-network provider.

Kaiser HMO:

The Kaiser HMO medical plans generally require the designation of a primary care provider (PCP).  You have the right to designate any primary care provider who participates in the network and who is available to accept you or your family members. Until you make this designation, Kaiser designates one for you. For children, you may designate a pediatrician as the primary care provider.  For information on how to select a primary care provider, and for a list of the participating primary care providers, contact Kaiser at (800) 464-4000 or www.kp.org.

Direct Access to OB/GYN Providers (Direct Pay Plans and Kaiser HMO Plans):

You also do not need prior authorization from the Plan or from any other person (including a primary care provider) in order to obtain access to obstetrical or gynecological care from a health care professional who specializes in obstetrics or gynecology.  The health care professional, however, may be required to comply with certain procedures, including obtaining prior authorization for certain services, following a pre-approved treatment plan, or procedures for making referrals.  For a list of participating health care professionals who specialize in obstetrics or gynecology, contact the Trust Fund Office at (800) 635-3105.