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Failure to Notify Individuals and Media About HIPAA Breach Within 60 Days Proves Costly

An Illinois-based health care employer has agreed to pay the federal government $475,000 to settle claims that it failed to provide notification about a breach of protected health information (PHI) within 60 days of discovering the breach, as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires.

January 20, 2017; A Historical Day

This is another article in our series addressing the continued deterioration and downward spiral of multi-employer defined benefit pension funds and the resulting impact upon participants, unions and most importantly on employers.

Federal Court Enjoins Health and Human Services Department from Enforcing ACA Protections for Transgender Individuals

The Obama Administration was dealt a blow in its efforts to expand legal protections for transgender individuals relating to the receipt of health care services and health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas has issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that enjoins the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) from enforcing protections that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or termination of pregnancy.

The Ball Dropped on New Year’s Eve for Some ACA Section 1557 Nondiscrimination Rules

Some employers may want to reconsider their approach to gender transition benefits after a federal court enjoined the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from enforcing its 2016 nondiscrimination regulations under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which were generally set to take effect on January 1, 2017, to the extent those regulations prohibit discrimination on the basis of “gender identity” and “termination of pregnancy.”

U.S. Supreme Court to Consider ERISA Church Plan Exemption

In a decision that may have profound consequences for the funding and continued operation of defined benefit retirement plans covering employees at religiously affiliated organizations, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear consolidated appeals from the Third, Seventh and Ninth Circuits to determine the scope of the “church plan” exemption under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The Supreme Court’s decision will mainly affect pension plans sponsored by religiously affiliated hospital systems, but other church-associated social service organizations and educational institutions that rely on the church plan exemption may also be impacted.

The New ERISA Claims and Appeals Regulations for Disability Benefits

The Employee Benefits Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor recently published final regulations governing the ERISA claims and appeals process that will apply to all claims for disability benefits filed on or after January 1, 2018. These regulations add procedural safeguards to the claims and appeals process for disability benefits, and largely track the provisions of regulations proposed in 2015.

More On What Trump And His ACA Repeal Threat Might Mean For Gig Economy

We’ve already provided a few insights into the impact that the recent presidential election will have on the sharing economy. We offered pre-election predictions, presented a preview of what we expect the gig economy to look like under President Trump, analyzed what the on-demand economy should think of Trump’s choice for Transportation Secretary, and most recently presented an assessment of how the new Secretary of Labor will impact the gig economy. So what more is there to say? As it turns out, plenty.

21st Century Cures Act Eases Small Employer ACA Restrictions

The 21st Century Cures Act provides relief to small employers regarding certain group health plan requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Specifically, certain qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangements (QSEHRAs) will be allowed under the Act.

Data Analytics Enables Health Plans to Predict When Employees Need Health Services and For How Long

We know that data analytics is being used to influence a wide range of things such as the pair of shoes one might want to buy or what news is “trending” on Facebook. Similar tools are being applied to employer-sponsored group health plans. According to a recent HealthcareITnews article, vendors such as Advanced Plan for Health (APH) are using predictive modeling functionality to support population health management.

21st Century Cures Act Would Give Small Employers Greater Use of HRAs

Passed swiftly by Congress, the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 34) seeks to hasten cures for killer diseases, among other things. President Obama is expected to sign the bill on Tuesday, December 13.