Employee Benefits Compliance, HIPAA

DOL Issues HIPAA-ACA Self-Compliance Checklist for Employers

The Department of Labor (DOL) issued a checklist (“self-compliance tool”) to help health plan sponsors, administrators, carriers and others involved in operating  group health plans understand the HIPAA and ACA requirements and related responsibilities.  The checklist provides an informal explanation of the statutes and the most recent regulations and interpretations and includes citations to the underlying legal provisions.  The DOL cautions, however, that the checklist does not cover all the specifics of HIPAA and the ACA, and that some of the provisions discussed involve issues for which final rules have not yet been issued.

The checklist generally notes those items for which there are proposed rules, interim final rules, and transition periods.  The DOL will update the checklist in the future to address additional requirements as they become applicable or as the Departments issue additional guidance, and also as enforcement grace periods expire.

DOL Will Focus on Compliance Rather than Penalties

The DOL’s introduction to the self-compliance checklist states: “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. 

If you are reading this in hardcopy, the Self-Compliance Checklist is at:  http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/part7-2.pdf 

And the DOL’s introduction to the checklist is at:  http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/healthlawschecksheets.html