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Is there a federal law or state law that requires employers to offer health benefits?

Small business group health insurance: Frequently asked questions

Question:
Is there a federal law or state law that requires employers to offer health benefits?

Answer:
No. Although state and federal laws regulate health plans, there is no federal law and no law in any state that requires employers to offer health care benefits to employees. However, it's a common practice for employers to provide health benefits. In a tight labor market, it's a prime way to attract and retain employees.

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State and federal laws will affect employers that do offer health plans. For instance, employers with more than 20 full-time workers that offer health insurance must offer continuation coverage called COBRA under certain circumstances. Another law, known as HIPAA, guarantees certain rights to group health insurance for employees who have pre-existing medical conditions. For more on COBRA and HIPAA, see Know your COBRA rights and The HIPAA law: Your rights to health insurance portability.

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