The Hawaii Family Leave Law (“HFLL”) regulations make clear that HFLL incorporates federal definitions and interpretation of leave law under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), unless federal law is less favorable to the employee.Generally, FMLA applies to all private employers who have 50 or more employees for each working day of 20 or more (not necessarily consecutive) calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year. FMLA requires covered employers to allow eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, to care for a child, parent, or spouse who suffers from a “serious health condition,” if the employee’s own serious health condition makes them unable to perform one or more essential functions of the job, or for certain qualifying exigencies. An eligible employee under FMLA has been employed by the employer for 12 months and has worked 1,250 hours during the preceding 12 months.Under HFLL, employers with more than 100 employees (determined in a manner similar to FMLA) must comply with both FMLA and HFLL. Generally, HFLL does not cover eligible employees that take leave for their own serious health condition, but only leave taken for an employee’s in-laws, grandparents and reciprocal beneficiaries. HFLL provides only four weeks of leave instead of FMLA’s 12 weeks. An employee eligible for leave under HFLL need only to have been employed for six months for the covered employer, regardless of the number of hours worked.Hawaii employers covered by both federal and state law must understand the differences in the two sets of laws, including the position taken by the federal DOL that, “where an employer’s usual and customary notice and procedural requirements for requesting leave are consistent with what is practicable given the particular circumstances of the employee’s need for leave, the employer’s notice requirements can be enforced.” In addition, the current position of the Deparment is that the “flat two-day rule” under the previous regulations has been rescinded.Thus, the determination of the adequacy of an employee’s notice is driven by the individual facts and circumstances, rather than an arbitrary two-day timeframe. The regulation itself also recognizes employers’ ability to enforce reasonable call-in policies. “Where an employee does not comply with the employer’s usual notice and procedural requirements, and no unusual circumstances justify the failure to comply, FMLA-protected leave may be delayed or denied” so long as the employer does not delay or deny leave where the employee provides timely notice as set by the regulation.In theory the employer is permitted to better plan for staffing and operational needs by requiring an employee eligible for protected leave to comply with notice procedures. Employees will be encouraged to comply with notice requirements knowing that the failure to do so could result in denial of protected leave.The FMLA regulations still leave questions for Hawaii employers. Hawaii law contradicts the new FMLA provision insofar as employers under HFLL are permitted to only “delay” and not deny covered leave for noncompliance. Thus, Hawaii employers cannot “deny” HFLL leave under these circumstances, which makes the administration of the two sets of laws potentially problematic for them.
Gone are the days when people used to carry their health records in unwieldy files when visiting a doctor. The advances in technology made it is possible to carry the entire documents in pocket-sized devices like CD-ROMs, pen drives and now on dedicated websites who take the responsibility of saving and updating medical data. To keep a track of our medical history and share and use it when necessary, we need to create a personal health record. Let us try to understand what it is exactly and what it can do for us and how can they make our life easy.A personal health record is the consolidated information related to health; stored and managed by an individual. Today, they are also popularly known as, personal health diary, patient health record, or personal medical records. While the concept of this type of records is not new, it has evolved from a stage when these records were stored by the medical professionals and health care providers; to a stage where each person today is keeping their health records by using various technologies such as websites, personal health software and so on. The primary purpose of these is:o To keep a track on personal health ando To help the doctors for providing better care through the valuable health information.Ideally, it should contain every single bit of information related to your health. The information stored in it may differ according to the software or service providers, but any personal health records will contain the crucial health information. Some of the most common parameters that a personal health record contains are as follows:o Name of the patient, birth date, blood typeo Date of last physical tests or screeningso Major illnesses or diseases occurred in past with dateso List of medicines and dosages taken by youo Allergies and chronic diseaseso History of illnesses in your familyThis piece of information can be very important in case of emergencies and can save your life.Personal health records have numerous benefits not only to the users but also to the health care systems and physicians. A detailed health record can be used by physicians to take important decisions in time of emergencies. Some of the significant benefits of personal health records are as follows:o Empowering patients: personal health record allows the patients to access, update and verify their own medical records. With the use of personal health records, one can also set reminders for health maintenance services.o Improves patient-doctors relationship: this is especially true when you have a family doctor or a physician to whom you frequently visits. Doctors find it easy to communicate with patients who own personal health records.o Improves patient’s safety: As the patient keeps updating their health records, it helps them to identify missed procedures and services, drug alerts, and important test results.o Delivers efficient care: personal health records also avoid duplicative testing and unwanted or unnecessary services.o Cost-effective tool: patients can save huge amounts which are otherwise spent unnecessary on malpractice costs.o Privacy: personal health records can be kept confidential by using passwords. Today, most of us want our health records to be safe and secure in our hands so that no one misuses it. It allow patients to keep their health documents safe and secured.The list of benefits of maintaining personal health records is never-ending and they are slowly and steadily becoming a basic necessity to keep ourselves and our beloved ones healthy. After all, a small initiative towards health can reap great rewards. So, step ahead and create your Personal Health Record!
Being able to afford health insurance is a big problem for many people here in Alabama. In fact, the problem has become so severe that close to 17% of all Alabama residents cannot afford health insurance of any kind.Fortunately the state of Alabama has made low-cost health insurance available to many people who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Children under the age of eighteen, college students, pregnant women and others may be able to qualify for low-cost health insurance through one or more state-sponsored programs.For those individuals who do not qualify for a state-sponsored program there are still several simple things you can do that may help to reduce the cost of your monthly health insurance premium. And once you know what things you can do to lower the cost of your health insurance, then it will be time to get online and compare the cost of your premium-saving policy at every health insurance company that sells policies in Alabama until you have found the very lowest cost possible for the insurance you need.Let’s start with some lifestyle changes. These are the most difficult things for most people to do, even though they can potentially save the most on your health insurance.Don’t smoke or use chew or any other tobacco product. You know in your heart of hearts that tobacco products are not good for your health, and insurance companies know this too. That’s why they charge tobacco users anywhere from 20% to 50% more for their health insurance than they charge non-smokers.Losing weight is even more difficult than stopping smoking for most people, but if you are overweight you are going to pay more for your health insurance. Again, this is simply a fact of life. The good news is that losing even a small amount of weight can potentially drop you down on the insurance company’s weight chart and can potentially save you hundreds of dollars each and every year in premium payments. Every little bit can potentially help.Are your weekends filled with extreme or dangerous sports or hobbies? As fun and exciting as they may be, the fact is you are going to pay more for health insurance if you put your life and health at risk unnecessarily. The same goes for driving a fancy sports car.And were you aware that your credit rating can also affect how much you pay for your health insurance? As strange as it may seem, the better your credit score the lower your health insurance premium.Group health insurance is always less expensive than individual health care, plus group plans will often overlook smoking, weight and some pre-existing conditions that would drive the cost through the roof if you were purchasing an individual policy. If your place of employment does not offer a group plan start asking around at any club, organization or association you belong to. You may be surprised to find that some group you never even thought about offers its members group health insurance. Ask your friends and co-workers if any of them belong to a group, club or association that offers group health insurance – and then see if you can join. Ask if any religious organization you belong to offers its members group health insurance.Look into joining an HMO a PPO or some other form of health maintenance organization. If your favorite doctor is not part of an HMO then you may have to switch doctors, but often you can keep your same doctor if you join a PPO. See if one of these types of groups makes economic sense to you.If you own a home-based business it may be possible to qualify for group health insurance even if your only employee is a spouse. Ask your insurance agent if this is possible in your case. But even if group health is not a possibility, it still may be possible to deduct your health insurance payments from your taxes if you own your own business – and the tax savings could help offset the cost of your premiums to the point where health insurance is more affordable than you thought.What about your co-pay and your deductible? If you can increase your co-payment and/or your deductible you can lower the cost of your health insurance. Obviously increasing your co-pay and/or your deductible must be considered carefully as any increase in either represents cash that is coming out of your pocket.It’s finally time for you to take the tips and tricks you picked up from this article and use them when filling out the form on at least 3 of the websites which allow you to compare health insurance prices among the different insurance companies.Make sure that you fill out the form exactly the same way on all three of the comparison websites you’ve chosen and then simply pick the company with the lowest cost (being careful to choose a company that you feel confident will still be around when you need them), and your job is done!You have now compared low cost health insurance in Alabama, you’ve picked the lowest-priced company and you can feel good about the fact that you are getting the coverage you need at a price you can afford.