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Health Care Access Legislation

May 31, 1995
To: County Directors
From: William E. Linstrom, Associate Vice Provost

Re: Health Care Access Legislation

You may recall receiving a message from me dated November 21, 1994, in which I outlined some problems with legislation passed during the 1994 session of the Legislature. I indicated either the Legislature would clarify the issues through amendments to the law, or that the rules process would work out the issues.

The latter has occurred and the legislation is now taking effect (May 1995). This is an attempt to provide you a very brief summary of the law and a suggested course of action that will bring you into compliance. I would suggest that you include this in Section 9 of your Administrative Handbook.

The law requires that employers of full or part-time employees provide their employees a written referral to where they can receive information about health insurance. If the employer provides health insurance coverage for the employees, this provision of the law is satisfied. The referral is to be done at or soon following the employment date. The law does not require employers to provide all or part of the costs of health insurance, but the employer is to provide payroll deduction of health insurance premiums, should the employee make such a request. The law does not cover temporary employees which have been defined as seasonal, intermittent, internship, trainee or temporary employees.

To comply with the law, I would urge the following:

1. Identify local health insurance agencies which would be willing to serve as a referral. To serve this function, someone would need to be available and willing to explain their insurance coverage and have the coverage for sale. It is possible that you may want to list more than one agent/agency.

2. When you have a new employee, you are to provide the employee a letter, sample attached, referring the employee to those sources of information. A copy of the letter ought to be signed and retained as a part of the employee's permanent file.

3. If the employee requests, you are to deduct the cost of the premium from the employee's paycheck. This presumes that the employee earns enough to pay the premium. You, as the employer, are not required to provide and/or pay for the insurance premium.

4. The Iowa Insurance Division has the responsibility to enforce the provision of this law and they have authority for review and assessment of penalties.

The intent of the law is to assure that people have access to information about insurance protection. The above accomplishes that. Should you have questions or need additional information, please contact your Area Director. Thank you for your attention to these details.

Sample Letter on Health Care Insurance

Dear _______________ 

As an eligible employee of the ____________ County Agricultural Extension District, we are offering you this written referral to sources of information concerning health insurance.

The following is/are a licensed health insurance agent(s). They are prepared to assist you in obtaining an individual health insurance policy that can be paid on a monthly basis from your savings account, checking account or as a payroll deduction.

Agent/Agency Name -- Address -- City -- Phone Number

Please sign and date this document. One copy will be given to you to provide information where you can obtain health insurance, and one copy will be retained in your personnel file. By your signing this, we are documenting our compliance with the State of Iowa Insurance "Access" Law.

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