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Business Insights, Research & Perspectives

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May 14, 2012

Mental Health Parity: A Compliance Reminder

Perhaps in honor of May being officially recognized as “Mental Health Month”, the DOL’s Employee Security Benefit Administration (EBSA) has issued several pieces of guidance relating to the mental health parity laws, specifically, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA).  EBSA has posted relevant MHPAEA regulations, Fact Sheets, FAQs, interactive compliance tools, and other pertinent information on its dedicated Mental Health Parity website.   Of particular note are two sets of implementation FAQs.  One set of FAQs addresses non-quantitative treatment limitations, such as medical management standards and other questions relating to plan design issues, such as prior authorization requirements.  The other set of implementation FAQs discuss the law’s oversight, carve-out arrangements, interaction with state-mandated mental health benefits, plans exempt from the law, and consumer hot-line information for reporting suspected violations.  

May 14, 2012

Updated Medicaid/CHIP Premium Assistance Notice Issued

Individuals who are eligible for employer-sponsored group health coverage, but are unable to afford the premium, may be eligible to receive premium assistance from a state’s Medicaid agency or CHIP program.  Employers are required to provide premium assistance information to their employees.  This can be accomplished by using a model notice provided by the Department of Labor.  

April 26, 2012

Not-For-Profits Are Getting Assessed Due to Current IRS Glitches: Do You Need A Penalty Abatement?

The IRS suspended its Modernized efile (MeF) system from January 1, 2012 through February 29, 2012 for electronic filing. 

April 25, 2012

To MLP or Not to MLP - That is the Question (article)

Master Limited Partnerships (commonly called MLPs or publicly traded partnerships) are often misunderstood, and the unique income tax treatment of these hybrid investments adds to their complexity. 

April 25, 2012

New Tangible Property Regulations Impact Tax Accounting for Buildings (article)

As discussed in the March 2012 edition of InTouch, the IRS has issued temporary regulations that provide guidance on the tax treatment of amounts paid to acquire, produce, or improve tangible property. 

April 18, 2012

HRB 49 - Fees on Health Insurance Policies and Self-Insured Plans

April 18, 2012 -- As part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a research fee is to be imposed on both insured and self-funded health plans.  The purpose of these fees is to fund a Patient-Centered Outcome Research Trust Fund.  This Trust Fund, in turn, supports a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to assist patients, clinicians, purchasers, and policymakers in making informed health decisions by advancing comparative clinical effectiveness research.

April 10, 2012

California’s Long Reach to Protect Domestic Partners

The California domestic partner law was amended in the 2011-2012 Legislative Session to require individual and group health plans, including managed care plans, to provide equal coverage to a registered domestic partner as is provided to a spouse of the employee or insured, beginning January 1, 2012.  What this law does is attempt to extend the California law that requires equal treatment of registered domestic partners to out-of-state insurance contracts and out-of-state employers. It is not clear, at this point, how exactly this law will be enforced; but the intent is there. 

April 10, 2012

Protect Personal Information. It’s the right thing to do. And, the penalties are big.

As mentioned several months ago, the HHS’ Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in engaged in efforts to ensure compliance with the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules including the privacy, security and breach notification rules (see New Pilot Audit Program: HIPAA Privacy and Security Compliance, January 2012 Benefit Beat). Indications are that, in the next 90 days, OCR will issue final regulations relating to:

April 10, 2012

The COBRA cops may come knocking…Are you ready?

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) enacted in 1985 provides health coverage continuation rights in the event of certain qualifying events; specifically, termination or reduction in hours of employment, death, divorce or legal separation, entitlement to Medicare and loss of dependent child status.  COBRA applies to employers employing 20 or more employees on at least 50% of the typical business days in the preceding calendar year, unless an exception applies. 

April 6, 2012

Effective Risk Management- Substance Over Form (article)

An effective risk management framework has four components: common risk language, risk principles, risk framework and risk process.
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