This self-compliance tool is useful for group health plans, plan sponsors, plan administrators, health insurance issuers, and other parties to determine whether a group health plan is in compliance with some of the provisions of Part 7 of ERISA. The requirements described in the Part 7 tool generally apply to group health plans and group health insurance issuers. However, references in this tool are generally limited to "group health plans" or "plans" for convenience.
Under the Affordable Care Act, there are various provisions that apply to group health plans and health insurance issuers and various protections and benefits for consumers that are beginning to take effect or that will become effective very soon. The Departments are working together with employers, issuers, States, providers and other stakeholders to help them come into compliance with the new law and are working with families and individuals to help them understand the new law and benefit from it, as intended. Compliance assistance is a high priority for the Departments. Our approach to implementation is and will continue to be marked by an emphasis on assisting (rather than imposing penalties on) plans, issuers and others that are working diligently and in good faith to understand and come into compliance with the new law. This approach includes, where appropriate, transition provisions, grace periods, safe harbors, and other policies to ensure that the new provisions take effect smoothly, minimizing any disruption to existing plans and practices. See DOL FAQs About the Affordable Care Act Implementation Part I, question 1.