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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

EBSA News Release: [02/27/2012]
Contact Name: Michael Trupo or Jason Surbey
Phone Number: (202) 693-6588 or x4668
Release Number: 12-0366-NAT

US Labor Department to host Spanish-language health benefits webinar Feb. 29

Online forum to offer information on work, life changes and health benefit rights

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration will host its first Spanish-language health benefits webinar on Wednesday, Feb. 29, from 1-2:30 p.m. EST. The free event will be co-sponsored by Families USA. Participants can register at http://s.dol.gov/NN.

"More than 13.7 million Latinos are in a health benefit plan through their job, but many do not know their rights when it comes to their health care and the federal laws to protect them and their coverage," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "For example, the Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Obama provides important benefits for Latinos and their families such as ensuring children can stay covered by their parents' health plan until the age of 26, not having to worry about children with pre-existing conditions being denied coverage, protections if you need to appeal a denied claim and recommendations for free preventive health services. Our online forum will explain those rights and other health care protections."

Changes in life such as losing a job or starting a new one, getting married or having a baby can affect coverage under an employer's health plan. This webinar will provide practical information about how employees can maintain or obtain health coverage for their families when work or life changes happen. It will help participants understand what rights they have under federal health benefits laws so that they can make timely and informed decisions when they need to. The laws to be covered include the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, better known as COBRA; the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA; the Employee Retirement Income Security Act; and the Affordable Care Act.

"Starting a new job, getting married and having a baby are all milestones to celebrate. But it's important that in the excitement, you don't forget they have an impact on your health insurance coverage," said Sinsi Hernandez-Cancio, the director of health equity at Families USA, a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans. "Whether we face positive changes or difficult challenges, like losing a job, the choices we make as we wade though what can seem like a mountain of paperwork can have long-lasting effects. At Families USA, we've seen the consequences of people missing their chance to protect themselves and their families through these changes — sometimes just because they missed a simple deadline. Understanding the rights and protections we have thanks to laws like Affordable Care Act will arm you with the knowledge you need to head off problems before they arise, and keep you and your family healthy and safe."

EBSA offers many publications in Spanish that help employees and their families better understand their rights under the law, available at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/publications/main.html#section3. EBSA also offers consumer assistance in Spanish online at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/contactEBSA/asistenciaalconsumidor.html or by calling 866-444-3272 toll-free.