Articles

HHS Issues Bulletin on Definition of Essential Health Benefits

On December 16, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a bulletin outlining proposed policies that will give States flexibility to define the “essential health benefits” required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Instead of issuing proposed regulations, HHS chose to release the information in the form of a “pre-rule bulletin”. The announcement provides states with a framework for defining, on their own, the essential health benefits that will apply in each particular state. Implementing regulations based on this approach are expected in 2012.

Read more

Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Law Passed in Seattle – What Can You Do Now?

As the New Year dawns, healthcare continues to dominate the landscape. But one area that continues to plague employers that have 5 or more employees located in Seattle, is the Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Law.

Beginning September 1, 2012, the City of Seattle will require that all but the smallest employers provide paid sick leave to their Seattle employees. Sick leave mandates under the new law increase depending on the size of a company's workforce, and employees must be allowed to use the leave for their own or their family members' illnesses ("Paid Sick Leave"), as well as for certain safety-related reasons ("Paid Safe Leave").

Read more

Do You Need Contingent Business Income Coverage?

When businesses experience a major property loss, they also often incur substantial loss of income due to a total or partial shutdown. In addition, there may be extra expenses—such as relocation to temporary sites, transfer of operations to other owned facilities, restoration of lost records, and replacement of lost phones and communication systems—associated with getting the business operational as soon as possible. Many businesses purchase Business Income coverage, as a part of their Property coverage, to cover this exposure. However, in today’s business world, where companies are dependent upon each other for continuing operations, Business Income insurance may not be enough to adequately protect your assets.

Read more

Nonprofit Boards Bring Personal Reward and Risk

Serving on a non-profit board for your homeowner association or favorite local charity is a rewarding way to give back to your community. However, have you ever considered the potential liability hazard? What would happen if the board is sued? Are your personal assets at risk?

Read more

Telemedicine: Avoiding a Risk Management Nightmare

A recent msnbc.com article, “Is a Doctor Reading your X-Rays? Maybe Not,” is certain to have caught the attention of many consumers, raising awareness of the practice of telemedicine and some issues that may influence a correct interpretation and diagnosis. The article provides several in-depth examples of delayed and missed diagnoses that occurred when radiology interpretation was outsourced.

Read more

HHS Launches HIPAA Audit Program

The HITECH Act, a portion of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide for periodic audits to ensure covered entities and business associates are complying with the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules and Breach Notification standards.

Read more

It’s not my responsibility- Insuring Tenant Improvements

“It’s not my responsibility” is not what anyone wants to hear as the opening volley between owner and tenant after a catastrophic property loss; it sets the stage for a contentious claims process. To avoid that scenario, it is vitally important that commercial property owners address who is responsible for insuring the tenant improvements at the time the lease is drafted rather than after a loss has occurred.

Read more

CLASS Act Implementation Suspended by the Obama Administration

The Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, released a report to Congress October 14th regarding its analysis of the CLASS Act-the long term care program passed as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In a letter sent with the report, Sebelius announced the Administration has decided not to move forward with the implementation of the CLASS program.

Read more

Insurance Exchanges

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, passed by Congress in 2010, addressed the inability of individuals and small employers to obtain affordable health insurance in the existing markets. With the intended goal that every American has a basic level of protection, the new law mandated that each state create an insurance exchange in which individuals and small employers can purchase coverage.

Read more

Wellness & Safety equals Healthy Occupational Performance

Workplace safety and wellness programs benefit employers and their employees. While the programs can be implemented independently of each other, there are proven enhanced results when the two are combined into one overarching Employee Health, Safety, and Wellness program. Research indicates that integrated programs result in a healthier, more productive workplace.

Read more

2012 Health Reform Issues for Employer Sponsored Health Plans

Most employers are aware that many of the significant aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) begin to take effect in 2014. There are, however, a number of provisions included in the ACA that will affect employer sponsored health plans in 2012. This summary provides a review of these issues which are specific to 2012. The actual impact each of these provisions will have on any particular employer will depend on a number of factors:

Read more

Departments Release Benefit Summary Rules

The IRS, Department of Labor, and Health and Human Services (The Regulatory Agencies) have released proposed regulations on the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (referred to as the SBC by the Regulatory Agencies) requirements contained in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Beginning March 2012, the ACA requires that health insurance carriers and employer health plans provide an SBC to participants and enrollees. The Regulatory Agencies were originally supposed to release regulations regarding the SBC by March 23, 2010; however the rules are now scheduled to be published in the Federal Register today, August 22nd.

Read more