BAS Blog


 

HIPAA Breach in Insurer's Research Study

Over 5,000 patients participating in research studies with Kaiser Permanente may have had their personal information compromised. A research computer used to store names, birth dates, medical record numbers and lab results was found to be infected with malicious software. It was reported that the computer was infected for more than two and a half years before being discovered.

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Limits May Not Be Imposed on Essential Health Benefits

The Affordable Care Act prohibits group health plans from imposing lifetime and annual dollar limits on what are deemed “essential health benefits.” Dollar limits may be imposed on benefits that are not considered essential.

Essential health benefits are set by statute. They include items in ten categories:

  • Ambulatory patient services;
  • Emergency care;
  • Hospitalization;
  • Maternity and newborn care;
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services;
  • Prescription drugs;
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices;
  • Laboratory services;
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; and
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care.
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Employee Background Checks

New explanatory guidance on employee background checks has been issued by the Federal Trade Commission and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This guidance takes the form of an Employer publication and a publication aimed at employees and job applicants.

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Question of the Week

Q.- Our employee had a medical service in 2013. The insurance did not go through until just last week, so the employee did not know how much he had to pay for the service until now. He paid the doctor for the service today. Can he be reimbursed from his 2014 health flexible spending account for the charge? It was an eligible medical expense.

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Heartbleed Bug- No Indication BAS Was Impacted

The Heartbleed Bug is a security risk that made headlines last week. It presents a vulnerability in the OpenSSL cryptographic software library that implicates encryption features. It is the encryption technology behind many websites that collect personal or financial information (typically indicated by a lock icon in the browser to tell the user the site is secure).

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Health Coverage for Dependents

Beginning in 2015, large employers with over 50 full time employees must offer minimum essential health coverage to the dependents of full-time employees or pay a penalty. A dependent includes an employee's biological and adopted (or legally paced for adoption) son or daughter through the calendar month in which the child turns age 26. Step-children and foster children do not have to be covered.

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Employees Can Discuss Salary; Employers Must Report Salary

Earlier this month, the President issued an executive order prohibiting employers who do business with the federal government from retaliating against employees who discuss their salary with other employees.

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Question of the Week

Q.- When I paid for my $30.00 copay for my eye doctor visit, the doctor asked if I would donate $1.00 to a charity to end blindness. Is the full $31.00 eligible for reimbursement from my health flexible spending account plan?

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COBRA Automated Rate Update Program: Pre-Loaded Rating Structures For Health Care Reform

Cobra Control Services, LLC (“CCS”) is pleased to announce an easy method of updating premiums for age and tobacco rated medical plans. This special alert is intended to provide useful information for administrators of small group health plans about an enhancement to the Automated Rate Update Program in MyEnroll.com.

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Mobile Device Policies

The organization HealthIT.gov has issued guidance for employers who allow employees to access information through a mobile device. This information may be helpful for employers in setting up security protocols for mobile devices. Click here for access to a summary of best practices.

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IRS and Health Care Reform Requirements

The Affordable Care Act places requirements on both employers and employees. The IRS is involved with many aspects of health care reform, including requiring employers to report certain data on a periodic basis and issuing tax penalties for not complying with certain mandates. The following health care reform components may subject employers to IRS consequences.

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Religious Beliefs in the Workplace

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued new guidance on employers’ responsibilities with respect to employees’ religious rights. A revised EEOC fact sheet provides information about how employment discrimination law applies to religious dress and grooming practices.

In most cases, employers must permit employees to follow religious dress and grooming practices even if those practices violate the employer’s dress code. Such practices include, for example, wearing religious clothing or articles (Muslim hijab, Sikh turban, Christian cross); observing a religious prohibition against wearing certain clothing (Orthodox Jewish or Pentecostal Christian practice of wearing modest clothing and not wearing pants); or shaving or hair length observances (Sikh uncut hair, Rastafarian dreadlocks).

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Question of the Week

Q.- An employee did not tell us that her child aged out of the dental plan when the child turned age 23. The carrier automatically terminated coverage for the child. Now, 6 months later, the employee told us and she wants to elect COBRA for the child. Do we have to give her the opportunity to continue coverage at this late date?

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HHS Releases HIPAA Security Risk Assessment Tool

The Department of Health and Human Services released an online tool to help mid-sized organizations perform a security risk assessment under HIPAA. Click here to access the tool.

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Penalties for Not Complying with Health Care Reform

Employer-provided group health plans must meet certain requirements to be compliant with health care reform. Some of the health care mandates include:

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Correcting Unsubstantiated Debit Card FSA Payments

Last week the Internal Revenue Service, Office of Chief Counsel, released a memorandum describing correction procedures for improper payments from a health flexible spending account plan. The guidance explains how to correct improper debit card payments and how an employer should treat these payments for tax purposes. While the memorandum is not formal guidance, it does give an insight into the IRS' view on the steps an employer should take with respect to an unsubstantiated health FSA expenses paid with a debit card.

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Question of the Week

Q.- An employee is transferring to a different location within our company. Do we have to offer her a COBRA election?

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