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Encrypt Computers to Avoid HIPAA Breach upon Theft

A third party billing vendor, Sutherland Healthcare Solutions, caused a HIPAA breach when several of its unencrypted computers were stolen last month. The computers at the Los Angeles County public health and health services departments contained patient Social Security Numbers, billing information, date of birth and medical diagnoses. The computers were not encrypted according to HIPAA standards.

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SHOP Enrollment

Small employers may use the SHOP exchange marketplace to offer health plan coverage to their employees.

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Paid Sick Leave in New York City

New York has expanded its new sick-leave law to apply to more businesses. Beginning April 1, businesses in New York City with five or more employees must provide up to five paid days off per year to employees if the employees or their relatives become sick. The law as originally passed applied to businesses with 15 or more employees.

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Question of the Week

Q.- We offer a Health Reimbursement Account for individuals who elect our high deductible health coverage. We put money in the HRA and that money may be used to pay eligible expenses. The HRA stops upon termination of employment. If an employee has a COBRA qualifying event, do we have to allow continuation of participation in the HRA under COBRA?

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County Pays HHS for HIPAA Deficiencies

Skagit County, Washington must pay the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) $215,000. HHS investigated the County after learning that protected health information from the Skagit County Public Health Department was accessible through a public server.

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New IRS and Employee Reporting Requirement for Employers with 50 or More FTEs and Employers Offering Self-Funded Health Plans

The IRS released final regulations governing reporting requirements for employers and insurers under health care reform. Beginning in 2015, two new reporting requirements become effective.

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President Proposes Changes to Overtime Laws

While no changes in the laws have been made yet, last week the President issued a memorandum directing the Department of Labor to review the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA governs the requirement for paying overtime to non-exempt workers.

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Question of the Week

Q.- An employee enrolled in the dependent day care FSA for 2014 because his child was attending daycare. The child was just evaluated for learning disabilities and has transferred to a school that provides care for the child at no cost to the employee. May the employee cancel his Dependent Care FSA election mid-year since he no longer has day care expenses?

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Increase in Minimum Wage for Federal Contract Workers

Beginning January 1, 2015, all workers who perform services under a federal contract or sub-contract must receive a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour. This increase in the minimum wage was implemented under an Executive Order signed by President Obama last month.

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Three Components of Health Care Reform

Health Care Reform can be divided into three main tenets: The Individual Mandate, Exchanges, and Pay-or-Play. A brief overview of each of these components follows.

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Question of the Week

Q.- We are no longer going to be offering health coverage to our part time employees starting 7/1. Do we have to offer a COBRA election to the part time employees who will be losing coverage?

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Blue Button Program Adopted by Several Pharmacies

Over the past few weeks, several large U.S. pharmacies and grocery stores have committed to participating in the Blue Button Initiative. The Blue Button initiative is a partnership between health care and the federal government that is intended to allow individuals access to their own electronic health information. Self-access of personal health information will allow consumers the ability to share information with health care providers, caregivers and others with the goal of better healthcare management.

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Google Glass Covered By Some Vision Plans

Employers who offer vision plans to their employees through a certain insurer may now be subsidizing frames and prescription lenses for Google Glass.

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Question of the Week

Q.- We have a calendar year FSA and would like to allow participants to carry over up to $500 of their 2013 unused contributions to be available in 2014. Can we do this or are we too late?

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