CMS Proposes Changes to Obamacare Marketplace Beginning in 2017

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued its proposed annual Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2018, which proposes additional steps to strengthen the Health Insurance Marketplace. CMS said it is issuing this rule earlier in the calendar year in order to provide more certainty to the Marketplace as it continues to mature. […]

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EEOC Issues New Retaliation Guidance

Today the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its final Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues to replace its 1998 Compliance Manual section on retaliation. The guidance also addresses the separate “interference” provision under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits coercion, threats, or other acts that interfere with the exercise of ADA rights. […]

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Almost Two-Thirds of U.S. Counties Face Two or Fewer Health Insurance Choices

An analysis by the respected Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 31 percent of U.S. counties will have only one insurer to choose from when open enrollment for Obamacare commences Nov. 1. Another 31 percent will have only two, and one county — Pinal in Arizona — likely will have none. In 2016, only 7 percent […]

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Obamacare Premiums Rise Steeply

State insurance commissioners, under pressure from health insurers bleeding red on the Obamacare exchanges, have begun approving rate hikes up to 62 percent, but the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) quickly reassured consumers that taxpayers would pick up the tab. With insurance premiums to be announced steadily up to the Nov. 1 open […]

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Final Rule Issued to Facilitate State-Run IRA Programs.

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has made public a final rule that assists states in creating IRA programs for workers who do not have access to workplace savings arrangements. At the same time, in response to public comments, the department is making public a proposed rule that could facilitate a limited number of cities and other local […]

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NLRB Grants Employee Unionization Rights to Graduate Student Assistants

In a decision today that could drastically alter the university landscape, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) voted 3-1 along party lines to grant employee status to graduate student assistants at Columbia University, allowing them to unionize. The ruling, reversing a Bush-era 2004 decision, affects for-profit colleges and universities but not public institutions. The NLRB […]

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OSHA Tests Expedited Whistleblower Resolution Process

The Department of Labor (DOL) is launching a new pilot process in its Western region. The “Expedited Case Processing Pilot” allows a complainant covered by certain statutes to ask the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to cease its investigation and issue findings for the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges to consider. The […]

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U.S. Judge in Texas Puts Hold on Obama’s Transgender School Bathroom Rule

Late Sunday, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor sided with Texas and 12 other states in their lawsuit against the Obama administration’s directive that transgender students be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice by placing a temporary hold on the ruling. Judge O’Connor in essence said the directive was not interpretive of existing law but […]

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HIPAA Celebrates 20th Anniversary Today

On this day (Aug. 21) in 1996, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which as its title implies protects people with pre-existing conditions when they change jobs and need new health insurance. From that date until Obamacare took over in 2014, if you left one company with a […]

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$5.5M Settlement Largest Ever for a HIPAA Security Violation

Advocate Health Care Network (Advocate) has agreed to a settlement with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR), for multiple potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) involving electronic protected health information (ePHI). Advocate has agreed to pay a settlement amount of $5.55 million and […]

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