The Unity Point Health System in Iowa must notify 1,800 patients that their records were compromised. An employee of a third party contractor of the Health System had unauthorized access to the records when logging into records in the electronic health record system. The individual reportedly accessed the records between February and August 2013.
Health care reform requires virtually all Americans to maintain health insurance beginning in 2014 or pay a penalty. The penalty is the greater of
While the programming behind the health care Exchange website is coming under scrutiny, the government has been able to successfully program consumer-facing websites on other topics. Click here to see a “video game” released by HealthIT.gov.
The game might gloss over the details, but the message is certainly important. All businesses should plan for unexpected contingencies, such as power failures, weather events, and cyber security issues.
Q.- At our company Halloween Party, an employee burned herself on the hot apple cider. I know we should have put a warning on the cup saying it was “HOT.” Will she now have a workers’ compensation claim?
A.- A workers’ compensation claim is certainly possible. Workers’ compensation matters are determined under state law. Generally, benefits provided under workers’ compensation laws are intended to protect an employee financially if the employee is injured at or as a result of work. If your Halloween party was company-sponsored and in the office, and if the employee injured herself during working hours, she might have a viable workers’ compensation claim.
Employers gearing up for Open Enrollment and getting their plan materials together should be sure to remember the Summary of Benefits and Coverage required under health care reform.
After the Windsor decision and subsequent guidance from the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor, employers must provide the same benefits to same-sex spouses of employees who are legally married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage that they do to spouses of opposite-sex married employees. Prior to this ruling, the cost of benefits to a same-sex spouse was taxable and generally calculated as imputed income to the employee. The employee had to pay tax on benefits provided to his or her same-sex spouse. Now, there is no different tax treatment for benefits paid to same-sex or opposite-sex spouses.
Q. A divorced employee shares custody of her son with her ex-spouse. Custody is shared equally. Can the employee participate in our Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Account Plan and be reimbursed for her son’s day care expenses?
A.- It depends. The custodial parent may be reimbursed for the eligible expenses incurred by the son, but only one parent can be the custodial parent. The custodial parent is the parent with whom the child resides for the greater number of nights during the calendar year. If the number of nights with each parent is the same, the parent with the higher adjusted gross income is treated as the custodial parent.
Even with technical issues plaguing the roll-out of heath care exchanges, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services issued a manual describing the enrollment process for Exchanges in the individual market and the federally facilitated SHOP Exchange for small businesses. The manual is intended to provide guidance to those involved in the Exchange enrollment process, including health insurers, agents, brokers and third party administrators.
The government shut down did not delay the due date for a calendar year plan's Form 5500.
Q.- Our health plan offers mail order prescriptions. There are shipping and handling charges associated with ordering a prescription through the mail. Can an employee be reimbursed for shipping and handling charges through our health flexible spending account plan?
The Department of Health and Human Services released new model notices that health plans and health care providers may use to satisfy their HIPAA Privacy Notice distribution obligations. The model notices are user-friendly and customizable.
Following on the heels of the IRS, the Department of Labor issued guidance on how employers will have to recognize same sex marriage for employee benefits purposes. The guidance, in the form a release by the Employee Benefits Security Administration, provides guidance on the meaning of spouse and marriage for ERISA purposes.
Q.- Open Enrollment is coming up for our next plan year. If an employee decides to drop coverage for 2014, do we have to give the employee a COBRA notice and a right to continue coverage under COBRA?
Many insurers are offering small employers the option of changing their medical plan renewal dates with the expectation of maintaining better premiums for an additional period of time, particularly before the age-banded and tobacco use ratings are implemented under health care reform.
Employers have notice distribution requirements that go beyond those required under health care reform. The Medicare Part D Notice of Creditable Coverage is one notice that must be distributed on an annual basis. The deadline for sending the Medicare Part D Notice is October 15.