Wednesday, June 25, 2014

HIPAA – Forgotten But Not Gone

With so much emphasis being placed on Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance these days, some folks have gradually (and frighteningly) forgotten about the ACA’s “older brother” – the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  Several ACA provisions supersede or expand upon HIPAA provisions that went into effect on and after January 1, 1997 (e.g., preexistingLEARN MORE

Thursday, June 19, 2014

ACA Transition Relief – Employer Mandate

In February of this year (2014), I provided an overview of the IRS' final regulations pertaining to the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) employer mandate. Since this is such a confusing provision of the ACA, to say nothing of the fact that there have been not one, but two separate delays of this provision, I decided to recap some of the more pertinent aspects of the final regulations and associated transitional relief.

Readers who are not completely familiar with the employer mandate (also referred to both as – “employer shared responsibility” and “pay or play provision”) can access an overview,

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Prescription Drugs – Health Care’s Low Hanging Fruit

There is an often overused metaphor equating things easily obtained with “low hanging fruit”. And in the world of health care and consumer driven health care (CDH), there is perhaps NO lower hanging fruit to be had than prescription drugs. I would further submit that few if any other product category in our entire economy has the sheer number of FREE… DISCOUNTED… REDUCED… SAMPLE offers connected to it, by a variety of constituencies including – manufacturers, distributors, insurers and employers – than do prescription drugs. But do the very people these offers of “low hanging fruit” are directed toward understand the “what”, “why”, or even “where” associated with them?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Employers Reimbursing Employees for Individual Coverage

Recently, the IRS issued guidance which places harsh penalties on employers that deploy the strategy of “dumping” employees into the Individual health insurance marketplace. The guidance followed the White House's objection to the idea of allowing employers the ability to provide employees with a lump sum of money with which to buy individual insurance on the exchange/marketplace. This builds on guidance released last year from the Department of Labor (DOL) which was more broad in scope. A previous blog post addressed the DOL guidance, which effectively “killed” the ability to use tax preferred funds from HRAs and FSAs to fund Individual health insurance premiums, regardless of the source of such coverage.