HHS Releases Final Rule on Medical Loss Ratio on Health Insurance

In a rebuff to insurance agents who pleaded that their commissions should not be included in the administrative expense ratio of health insurance policies, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Friday (Dec. 3, 2011) issued final regulations locking in stone the 80/20 ration envisioned by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act […]

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OCR to Begin HIPAA Privacy and Security Audits

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) this month is commencing its first round of audits focusing on covered entities' HIPAA security and privacy rule compliance. A pilot audit program running through April 2012 will check compliance at 20 firms to form the basis for auditing procedures in the future. Eventually, 150 covered entities will be […]

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Supreme Court Today Weighing Whether to Tackle Health Care Reform

The U.S. Supreme Court, in secret session today, is debating whether to take up the issue of the constitutionality of the Obama administration's health care reform legislation, now dubbed the Affordable Care Act (ACA). At issue is whether the law's individual mandate that all Americans must purchase insurance if it's not otherwise provided for them […]

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Proposed Regulations Issued on PPACA Disclosure Requirements

The Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Labor (DOL) have joined the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in proposing regulations to fulfill the requirement of 2010's health care reform for insurers to issue full statements of benefits to all affected. These summaries of benefits were mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act […]

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OCR Makes Annual Report on HIPAA Privacy and Security Rule Compliance

In its annual report to Congress, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) said it is developing audit protocol to conduct audits of up to 145 covered entities in an ongoing effort to enforce the privacy and security rules of HIPAA. The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is […]

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HHS Grants Another 106 Waivers from Obamacare

Though the Department of Health and Human Services has announced it will stop granting waivers from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) at the end of this September, this past week it granted another 106 of them. This brings the total of all waivers so far to 1472. The waivers are usually for […]

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Last of COBRA Subsidy Recipients Rolling Off the Rolls

As part of the government's effort to combat the pitfalls of the recession, Congress in March 2009 passed a 65-percent government-funded subsidy for laid-off employees who signed up for a COBRA health insurance extension. The program ran from September 2008 to May 2010, with 15 months of subsidies available for any employee who was "involuntarily […]

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HHS Expands List of No-Co-Pay Preventive Services for Women

This week the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) added several new, no-cost-to-patients preventive services to the list it aggregates as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The newly added services for women will have to be offered with no co-pay by all health insurance policies on their first plan […]

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HHS Proposes Expansion of Individuals’ Right to ‘Access Reports’ on Their Medical Data

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is currently receiving public commentary on a proposed rule to expand the right of individuals to demand and receive "access reports" identifying who accessed their protected health information and why. Under the Health Insurance Accountability and Portability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, individuals currently have a right to […]

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HHS to Audit 150 Firms for HIPAA Privacy and Security Standards Under ARRA

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through its Office of Civil Rights (OCR), has awarded a $9-million contract to KPMG to help audit 150 covered entities and business associates for adherence to HIPAA security and privacy standards. According to language in the contract, "Site visits conducted as part of every audit would include […]

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