Legal and Privacy Notices

  • Summary of Material Modifications (SMM)

    This SMM is intended to be part of your Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs) and should be kept with your SPDs. SPDs can be found on the John Hancock Benefits Center website at This summary is provided to you as required by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and applicable U.S. Department of Labor regulations. It is only a general summary of certain changes to the information in the health and insurance plans and SPDs. This summary and its contents apply to active, benefits-eligible employees.

    This summary contains brief descriptions of and changes to various benefits and programs available to eligible John Hancock and Manulife Financial U.S. Domiciled employees. This brochure does not attempt to cover all details. In some instances, full details are available in formal written plan documents that legally govern the operation of the Plans. If the information in this brochure differs in any way from the terms of the plan documents, the plan documents shall control. This is not intended to be a contract of employment or a statement of enforceable benefits or employment rights. John Hancock and Manulife Financial reserve the right to modify or amend, at any time and in any way whatsoever, the terms of these plans, including eligibility requirements, and to terminate the plans completely.

  • Patient Protection Affordable Care Act: Nondiscrimination and Accessibility

    Discrimination is Against the Law

    John Hancock Life Insurance Company (USA) (John Hancock) complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. John Hancock does not exclude people or treat them differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

    John Hancock provides:

    • Free aids and services to people with disabilities to communicate effectively with us, such as:
      • Qualified sign language interpreters
      • Written information in other formats (large print, audio, accessible electronic formats, other formats).
    • Free language services to people whose primary language is not English, such as:
      • Qualified interpreters
      • Information written in other languages.

    If you need these services, contact U.S. Employee Relations Department.

    If you believe that John Hancock has failed to provide these services or discriminated in another way on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex, you can file a grievance with: U.S. Employee Relations Department, 200 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02117. Phone: 617-663-3000, internal extension 725439, fax: 617-450-8180, email: You can file a grievance in person or by mail, fax, or email. If you need help filing a grievance, U.S. Employee Relations Department is available to help you. You can also file a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights, electronically through the Office for Civil Rights Complaint Portal, available at, or by mail or phone at: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    200 Independence Avenue, SW
    Room 509F, HHH Building
    Washington, D.C. 20201
    800-368-1019 (TDD)

    Complaint forms are available at

  • Restrictions on Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

    Over-the-counter medications that are not prescribed by a physician (except insulin and diabetic supplies) are not considered qualified medical expenses under the Health Care FSA or HSA. Please be sure to calculate your contributions carefully, taking into consideration that over-the-counter medications other than insulin and diabetic supplies will not be reimbursable from a tax-advantaged account without a prescription. Products for general health purposes are not eligible.

    Penalties on HSAs

    If you use your HSA to pay for non-qualified medical expenses, you will be required to pay income tax and a 20% penalty tax on the distribution when you file your income taxes.

  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Notice

    Special Enrollment Rights Under HIPAA

    Loss of Other Coverage. If you decline enrollment for yourself or your dependents (including your same-gender spouse or domestic partner) because of other health insurance coverage, you or your dependents may be able to enroll in certain benefit plans without waiting for the next Annual Enrollment period if you or your dependents lose eligibility for that other coverage (or if the employer stops contributing toward your or your dependents' other coverage). However, you must request enrollment within 31 days following the date you or your dependents' other coverage ends (or after the employer stops contributing toward other coverage).

    New Dependent. In addition, if you have a new dependent as a result of marriage, birth, adoption or placement for adoption, you may be able to enroll yourself and your dependents. You must request enrollment within 31 days following the event.

  • Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

    Federal law requires the plan provide for special enrollment rights if you or your eligible dependents (including a same-gender spouse or domestic partner) either lose coverage under Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) because you are no longer eligible, or become eligible for a state's premium assistance program under Medicaid or CHIP. For these enrollment opportunities, you have 60 days, instead of 31, following the date of the Medicaid/CHIP eligibility change to request enrollment in the plan. Note that this new 60-day extension does not apply to enrollment opportunities other than the Medicaid/CHIP eligibility change.

  • Qualified Medical Child Support Orders (QMCSOs)

    John Hancock will honor a Qualified Medical Child Support Order (QMCSO) relating to provisions for child support, alimony payments or marital property rights that may require you to provide medical coverage to an eligible child. If John Hancock receives such an order, you will be notified of how it will be handled with respect to your benefits.

  • Patient Protection

    The John Hancock medical plan options generally allow, but do not always require, the designation of a primary care physician. You have the right to designate any primary care provider who participates in-network or out-of-network and who is available to accept you or your family members.

    For children, you may designate a pediatrician as the primary care provider. You do not need prior authorization under the plan or from any other person (including a primary care provider) in order to obtain access to obstetrical or gynecological care from a health care professional in our network. The health care professional, however, may be required to comply with certain procedures, including obtaining prior authorization for certain services, following a pre-approved treatment plan or procedures for making referrals.

  • Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998

    The John Hancock medical plans cover mastectomies and certain related reconstructive surgery. The law requires John Hancock to notify you annually of the availability of this coverage.

    Covered women who have a mastectomy can elect the following procedures after consulting with their physician. By law, they will be covered for the following expenses:

    • Reconstruction of the breast on which the mastectomy was performed
    • Surgery and reconstruction of the other breast to produce a symmetrical appearance
    • Prosthesis
    • Treatment required as a result of physical complications for all stages of mastectomy, including lymphedemas.

    Keep in mind, coverage is subject to all the terms of the health plan you elect, including applicable copays, deductibles and/or coinsurance provisions.

  • Special Note on Maternity and Newborn Infant Coverage

    Federal law requires us to tell you that John Hancock's medical plans cannot restrict or require you to obtain certification for any length of stay in a hospital in connection with childbirth, for mother or newborn that is 48 hours or less following a standard delivery, or 96 hours or less following a cesarean delivery. Also, be sure to add your newborn to your medical coverage within 31 days.

  • HIPAA Privacy Information

    The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) imposes numerous requirements on employer health plans concerning the use and disclosure of individual health information. This information, known as Protected Health Information (PHI), includes virtually all individually identifiable health information held by the medical plans, whether received in writing, in an electronic medium or as an oral communication.

    John Hancock's medical plans are required by law to maintain the privacy of your health information and to provide you with a notice of the medical plans' legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your health information. If you participate in an insured plan option, you will receive a notice directly from the insurer. It is important to note that these rules apply to the medical plans, not John Hancock as an employer. Different policies may apply to other John Hancock programs or to data unrelated to the medical plans.

    The privacy rules generally allow the use and disclosure of your health information without your permission (known as an authorization) for purposes of health care treatment, payment activities and health care operations. The amount of health information used or disclosed will be limited to the 'minimum necessary' for these purposes, as defined under the HIPAA rules. The medical plan, or their health insurers, may disclose your health information without your written authorization to John Hancock for plan administration purposes. John Hancock agrees not to use or disclose your health information other than as permitted or required by the plan documents and by law. Benefits personnel are the only John Hancock employees who will have access to your health information for plan administration functions, including obtaining contribution bids to provide coverage under the plan or for modifying, amending or terminating the medical plan.

    Use and disclosure of your health information other than as authorized under HIPAA will be made only with your written authorization. You may revoke your authorization as allowed under the HIPAA rules.

    Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)

    The Notice of Privacy Practices required by HIPAA has been updated with changes mandated by governmental regulations. The changes related to the Plan's obligation to notify you if there is ever a breach of PHI, your right to request restrictions on certain disclosures and when PHI is used for underwriting, the Plan is prohibited from using or disclosing genetic information for such purposes. The full notice is posted on the John Hancock Benefits Center website ( under Plan Information. If you would like a hardcopy you may contact the John Hancock Benefits Center at 866-927-4968 and request a notice be mailed to you.

  • Domestic Partner Coverage

    If you are eligible for benefits, you may enroll a same-gender or opposite-gender domestic partner though you may be asked to sign an affidavit that you:

    • Have lived together at least 12 months
    • Are both age 18 or older
    • Share a close personal relationship and are responsible for each other's common welfare
    • Are exclusive
    • Are not married to anyone else
    • Are not related by blood closer than would bar marriage in the state
    • Share the same regular and permanent residence, with the current intent to continue doing so indefinitely
    • Are jointly financially responsible for "basic living expenses," defined as the cost of basic food, shelter and any other expenses of a domestic partner because of the domestic partnership (Domestic partners need not contribute equally or jointly to the cost of these expenses as long as they agree that both are responsible for the cost.)
    • Were mentally competent to consent to the contract when the domestic partnership began.

    Special tax considerations (referred to as imputed income)

    You should be aware of special tax considerations that apply if you cover a domestic partner (either same gender or opposite gender) or your partner's children on your employee benefits (unless you claim them as dependents for federal income tax purposes). According to IRS regulations, health insurance premiums for domestic partners and their dependent children are not excludable from income for federal tax purposes, unless they are qualified tax dependents. In addition to making a post-tax contribution for your domestic partner's and children's benefits, you will be taxed on the 100% premium value of your domestic partner and their children's benefits.

  • Notice for Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs

    Rules published on May 17, 2016, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) require employers that offer wellness programs, such as Vitality, that collect employee health information to provide a notice to employees informing them what information will be collected, how it will be used, who will receive it, and what will be done to keep it confidential, John Hancock will not receive any of your personal health information. Certain reports with aggregate data only (no personal identifiers) will be provided to the Company. This data will be used to develop future health education and prevention programs with the health plans. Please find the required notice below:


    The Vitality Employee Wellness Program (the “Wellness Program”) is a voluntary wellness program available to all U.S. domiciled benefits-eligible employees of John Hancock. The Wellness Program is administered according to federal rules permitting employer-sponsored wellness programs that seek to improve employee health or prevent disease, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, as amended, as applicable, among others. If you choose to participate in the Wellness Program you will be asked to complete a Vitality Health Review or “VHR,” which is a health risk assessment that asks a series of questions about your health-related activities and behaviors and whether you have or had certain medical conditions (e.g., cancer, diabetes, or heart disease). You may also complete a biometric screening, which will include a blood test that measures your Body Mass Index (BMI), blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels. You are not required to complete the VHR or to participate in the blood test or other medical examinations.

    Eligible employees who choose to participate in the Wellness Program will receive an incentive of $600 in wellness credits for achieving Gold Vitality Status.

    Additional incentives of up to $408 may be available for employees who participate in certain health-related activities resulting in Vitality Bucks or achieve certain health outcomes resulting in Vitality Points. Additional savings of up to $600 are available through Vitality’s HealthyFood program. If you are unable to participate in any of the health-related activities or achieve any of the health outcomes required to earn an incentive, you may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation or an alternative standard.

    If you think you might be unable to meet a standard for a reward (reward can include avoidance of a surcharge) under this Wellness Program, you might qualify for an opportunity to earn the same reward by different means. Vitality's Personal Pathways have been designed to provide all members with a reasonable alternative standard and member-specific alternatives, which will be provided by Vitality, as advised by your healthcare professional to earn health-contingent points. If you feel that you are medically unable to satisfy the requirements or the provided reasonable alternative standard needed to earn points, please download and complete the medical waiver form and submit it to Vitality. The Medical Waiver Form can be found on the Power of Vitality Website. If you have any questions or require assistance you can contact a Vitality Specialist at 877-224-7117.

    The information from your VHR and the results from your biometric screening will be used to provide you with information to help you understand your current health and potential risks and may also be used to offer you services through the Wellness Program, such as Personal Pathways. You also are encouraged to share your results or concerns with your own doctor.

    Protections from Disclosure of Medical Information

    We are required by law to maintain the privacy and security of your personally identifiable health information. Although the Wellness Program and John Hancock may use aggregate information it collects to design a program based on identified health risks in the workplace, Vitality will never disclose any of your personal information either publicly or to the employer, except as necessary to respond to a request from you for a reasonable accommodation needed to participate in the Wellness Program, or as expressly permitted by law. Medical information that personally identifies you that is provided in connection with the Wellness Program will not be provided to your supervisors or managers and may never be used to make decisions regarding your employment.

    Your health information will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or otherwise disclosed except to the extent permitted by law to carry out specific activities related to the Wellness Program, and you will not be asked or required to waive the confidentiality of your health information as a condition of participating in the Wellness Program or receiving an incentive. Anyone who receives your information for purposes of providing you services as part of the Wellness Program will abide by the same confidentiality requirements. The only individual(s) who will receive your personally identifiable health information are Quest Diagnostics Representatives and Vitality representatives in order to provide you with services under the Wellness Program.

    In addition, all medical information obtained through the Wellness Program will be maintained separate from your personnel records, information stored electronically will be encrypted, and no information you provide as part of the Wellness Program will be used in making any employment decision. Appropriate precautions will be taken to avoid any data breach, and in the event a data breach occurs involving information you provide in connection with the Wellness Program, we will notify you immediately.

    You may not be discriminated against in employment because of the medical information you provide as part of participating in the Wellness Program, nor may you be subjected to retaliation if you choose not to participate.

    If you have questions or concerns regarding this notice, or about protections against discrimination and retaliation, please contact Christina Wiskow at 617-572-4299.

    *Note: This program applies to U.S. domiciled benefits-eligible employees only. Employees do not have to be enrolled in medical coverage to participate in the Vitality Employee Wellness Program, however, you must be a subscriber in 2019 to receive wellness credits. A subscriber is the person who signs up for the health plan and pays for the policy. To be considered a subscriber, you must currently be insured through John Hancock and/or must elect coverage at Open Enrollment through John Hancock for 2019. You must be enrolled in a medical plan through John Hancock to be eligible for incentives through Vitality and to participate in the Vitality Check. Prorated wellness credits will be paid out on a quarterly basis.

John Hancock and Manulife Financial reserve the right to modify or amend, at any time and in any way whatsoever, the terms of these plans, including eligibility requirements, and to terminate the plans completely.