Recently, a colleague received an e-mail that suggested that all employers must post information that "lists employee’s rights to health insurance under Connecticut Law."  When I heard about it, something didn’t seem right.  After all, since when do employees have a right to health insurance in Connecticut (and, isn’t that a heated topic of the Presidential campaigns?). 

So I started digging.  A peek at the Department of Labor website came back with nothing.

A search on Google for a "Connecticut Healthcare Advocate Poster" provided a link to the website of a company, Progressive Business Compliance, that does, in fact, sell a poster for $12.99 that appears to be on point.  The website page states specifically. "New Poster February 2008! Employers are required to display this poster.  Lists employee’s rights to health insurance under Connecticut."  The website allows a viewer to buy this "Healthcare Advocate" poster directly from the site and it has a nice thumbnail picture of what the poster looks like.

Hmm. This seemed strange; still hadn’t heard of the law..  But I wondered, why have I seen this poster before? So, I called the Office of the Healthcare Advocate, which is dedicated to serving Connecticut’s health insurance consumer. 

And lo and behold, they were extraordinarily helpful.  A poster on rights to health insurance? Never heard of it, they said. But they do have a poster from the Managed Care Ombudsman that lists the services of the Managed Care Ombudsman.  It’s required by Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 38a-1046.  Oh, and it’s not new. It’s been around since 1999.  It lists certain items that a health insurance policy must have — if health insurance is offered.

Ding, ding! We have an answer!  There is no poster listing an employee’s rights to  health insurance, only a poster regarding the services of the Managed Care Ombudsman.  And it’s been around for a while (which is why it looked so familiar). 

So, I ask the OHA, can I download this poster from the website? Their answer was no but she graciously agreed to e-mail it to me.  (Don’t ask me why it isn’t on the website in this age of technology.)

And, she did. So, are you curious what it looks like? This is the poster that she e-mailed me. You can compare it to the thumbnail image available for sale on the PBC website and make your own judgment about it. (IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: As with this entire blog,  I make no representation that this poster does, in fact, comply with the applicable law and readers are strongly cautioned to seek legal advice about whether their postings comply with applicable law.)  If you want your own poster, you can certainly contact the OHA at 1-866-HMO-4446.  Perhaps if enough people call them, they will even post it to the website.

This situation presents a good reminder tor HR professionals and company staff that it is always best to consult with an attorney about their legal obligations, particularly on posters.  And it reminds me of the (seemingly) old adage that just because it is on the Internet, that does not mean it’s true.  It is always best to go to the underlying source to resolve any questions you might. And you might save a few bucks by doing so.

(4:30p UPDATE) See comments by Kevin Lembo, from the Office of Healthcare Advocate below regarding the poster.  There will be some further developments in this topic likely tomorrow.  Stay tuned.