HIPAA changes: What you need to know
The recent stimulus package will affect many aspects of the healthcare system. One area where you will see significant changes is in regard to HIPAA, or the “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.” Some of the key changes include:
- Certain privacy rules will apply directly to covered business associates.
- New security breach rules will require notification to each affected individual in certain instances.
- Some HIPAA-related penalties have increased.
- Changes will be needed to HIPAA forms to comply with new regulations.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is expected to provide additional clarification on many changes. We will be watching carefully as additional information is made available. We recommend business associates and covered entities contact us to review these changes carefully.
Employees who are involuntary terminated may be eligible to have 65% of their COBRA premiums subsidized under the stimulus bill recently signed into law by President Obama. Employers subject to COBRA will need to coordinate with their COBRA, health plan, and payroll administrators to comply with these provisions. Let us know how we can help with this change!
Get Employees More Involved in Their Benefits and Health Management During Tough Economic Times
In this environment, you want to ensure your benefits dollars are being used to enhance employee health, well-being, and productivity. Here are some options to do just that.1. Help employees implement a healthy lifestyle and focus on prevention with the following:
- Generous coverage for preventive care.
- Incentives for participation in activities designed to detect potentially serious medical conditions.
- Encouraging participation in other wellness activities.
- Making available employee assistance programs.
2. Avoid cost-shifting on benefits to keep overall expenses low.
There are ways to avoid large premium increases that can cause employees to drop coverage, in particular younger, more healthy employees, leaving your plan with a less desirable risk pool. Cost-shifting can cause employees to defer routine care and delay seeing a doctor when symptoms of illness first arise. In the long run, this may be costly to your health plan, but also add to absenteeism, disability costs, and lower employee productivity. Through creative benefits solutions, you can effectively manage costs and engage your employees in the process – even during tough economic times.
3. Offer benefit options that encourage employee consumerism
Another way to get employees more involved in their own health management is to offer programs that help employees to be wise consumers of healthcare, such as Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Consumer-directed Health Plans (CDHPs). Also, voluntary benefits can add a wide range of personalized options to an employer’s benefits program at little or no cost to the company.