BAS Blog


 

BAS Provides Data Collection Tools for Health Care Reform

Health care reform imposes new and additional documentation requirements on employers. BAS is ready to assist employers with many of their compliance documentation responsibilities.

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Wellpoint HIPAA Breach Impacts 612,000 Individuals

WellPoint Inc. has been fined $1.7 million for violations of HIPAA’s privacy and security rules due to a breach of participant protected health information.

Between October 23, 2009 and March 7, 2010, certain participants' data accessible through the WellPoint online enrollment website may have been improperly accessed. WellPoint made programming updates to its online enrollment system. As a result of the programming updates, the online data base did not include proper safeguards to make certain the person accessing the site was the individual to whom the information applied. Information that could be improperly viewed included name, date of birth, address, Social Security Number, health and financial information.

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Medical Loss Ratio Rebates

The Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) provisions of the Affordable Care Act require insurers to spend at least a specified percentage of employees’ premium dollars on clinical care, rather than on administrative expenses such as executive salaries, overhead, marketing and profit. If an insurer does not spend enough on patient care to satisfy the MLR provisions, the insurer must make financial adjustments and provide rebates to customers. The first MLR rebates were distributed last year. Insurers are gearing up for distributing the second round of rebates this month.

Insurer rebates to employer policyholders can be paid either in cash or in form of reduced premiums.

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New York City Requires Paid Sick Leave

New York City private-sector employers must offer sick leave to their employees. Sick leave is a growing issue among employers, and New York joins Connecticut, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Washington, DC as requiring employers to fund time off for sickness.

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Question of the Week

Q.- A child of an employee is covered under our medical plan. The child will be turning age 26 in December 2013. She got married on July 2, 2013. Should we automatically remove her from our coverage since she is now married?

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Health Care Reform Language in COBRA Notices

Cobra Control Services, LLC has revised its COBRA qualifying event notices to incorporate health care reform language required by the Department of Labor. This new language informs COBRA continuants that Beginning 2014, they may purchase individual health coverage through the state-based Exchange Marketplace. It also advises that individuals may be eligible for a tax credit to purchase coverage through the Marketplace.

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Apple Adds Enhanced Security Features

Apple iPhones and iPads are a big draw to thieves. Recognizing this, Apple has included an Activation Lock, or “kill switch,” in its mobile iOS7 operating system.

An Apple ID and password will be required before the user can erase data on the device or turn off the “find my phone” feature. The same Apple ID and password will be required to reactivate the device after the data has been wiped.

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All Employers Impacted by Health Care Reform, Even State Marketplaces

Every state will offer an Exchange through which individuals can purchase health coverage beginning January 1, 2014. If the state itself has not agreed to establish an Exchange (for example, Pennsylvania has not signed on to set up its own exchange), the federal government will come in and run the Exchange for the state.

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Three More States Recognize Same-Sex Marriage

Recently, Rhode Island, Delaware and Minnesota have joined the 9 other states and the District of Colombia by recognizing same-sex marriage. Beginning August 1, 2013, individuals in Rhode Island and Minnesota will have access to marriage, regardless of gender. Beginning July 1, 2013, same-gender civil marriage were recognized in Delaware. Civil union partners in Delaware and Rhode Island may apply to have their relationships converted to marriage, and certain civil unions in effect in Delaware will be automatically converted to marital status.

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Question of the Week

Q.- We have an employee who is retiring July 20, 2013 and will be eligible for COBRA as of August 1. We offer retiree coverage, and the employee has decided to enroll in our retiree plan. Do we still have to offer her a COBRA election?

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Large HIPAA Breach Impacts over 187,500 Individuals

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration had to notify 187,533 clients of the compromise of protected health information (PHI) after discovering a computer programming glitch.

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Pay or Play Penalty for Large Employers Delayed

In a surprise development, the Obama administration delayed the employer-mandated “play or pay” penalty under health care reform. Companies with 50 or more employees now have an extra year- until 2015- to provide affordable health care to all workers or face a penalty.

Health care reform requires employers with more than 50 full-time-equivalent employees to offer their employees (and dependents) meaningful health coverage that meets certain affordability requirements. If such coverage is not offered and if an employee purchases subsidized health coverage through a state-based Exchange Marketplace, the employer is subject to a penalty, which could accumulate to a potentially large amount.

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Affirmative Action Considerations for Employers

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that race could be used as a consideration in college admissions. The case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, has implications for employers across the country.

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Question of the Week

Q: We have an employee who is thinking about participating in our health FSA. She heard that it might impact her Social Security benefits. Is that true?

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