Tag: HIPAA

Question: Are we allowed to ask employees or applicants whether they’re taking prescription drugs?  Answer: No. In most instances you are prohibited from asking employees and applicants about any prescription medicines they are taking. This type of medical-related inquiry is considered confidential medical information and is protected under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and…

HHS Withdraws Health Plan Certification Rules On October 3, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) withdrew proposed rules that would have required health plans to certify their compliance with certain electronic transaction standards. Although most employers would not have been affected directly, because their plans are handled by insurance carriers, self-funded employers…

On August 22, 2017, in AARP v EEOC, a federal court found that regulations allowing employers to offer large incentives under workplace wellness programs were arbitrary. The court did not vacate (nullify) the rules due to concerns about disrupting employers’ existing programs. Instead the court has ordered the responsible agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission…

Question: Our self-funded plan includes exclusions for hazardous activities and hobbies, including injury or illness arising from use of snowmobiles, personal aircraft, personal watercraft, four wheel recreational vehicles, etc. Does the Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibit this type of exclusion or limitation for grandfathered and nongrandfathered plans? Answer: Federal regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability…

Question: Can a health reimbursement account (HRA) plan have two classes of employees with two different allocations? Can the HRA contribution be different depending on which plan the employee is enrolled in if the plans have different deductibles? Answer: The answer to both of your questions is generally yes, provided that the plan does not discriminate in…

Question: Why is the HIPAA Certificate of Creditable Coverage no longer required? Answer: Due to the elimination of pre-existing condition clauses under the Affordable Care Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Certificate of Creditable Coverage notice requirement has been discontinued as of December 31, 2014. Many employers have used the HIPAA notice as documentation…

Question: Can you provide a model Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy notice that sponsors of employer health plans can distribute to their employees? Answer: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has developed a model notice of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Practices. A model health plan notice can be…

Question: Should we get a HIPAA release from an employee to review the medical information for a work-related injury? Answer: You generally do not need a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) release from an employee in order to review medical information related to a workers’ compensation injury. According to the U.S….

Question: We recently advised a client to keep protected health information (PHI) filed separately from other employee data. While we have this recommendation in writing from our attorneys to us in a HIPAA business associate agreement (BAA), I am not able to find any documentation that as a plan sponsor an employer should also follow…

Question: How does a non-healthcare industry employer go about designating a privacy officer for HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance? Answer: Having a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) privacy policy statement in the handbook that refers to a position or department as being accountable for such compliance would be one step….