June 3, 2014
Authored by: Christy Phanthavong
Employers have been diligently working on revisions to their benefits plans and summary plan descriptions to comply with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. After those revisions are in place, it is critical to remember an additional step: Make sure that applicable employee handbook language is also revised to reflect these changes.
Generally, it is best to keep any discussions of benefits to a minimum in employee handbooks, so as to avoid confusion and the potential for conflict with plan documents and summary plan descriptions. However, employers usually desire to include some benefits-related information in their handbooks, if only to point employees in the right direction for obtaining additional information.
Thus, if your handbook contains benefits-related information, you should consider reviewing that information and make any necessary revisions so that the information is both consistent with the Affordable Care Act and consistent with your plans and other communications.