On December 19, 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued proposed regulations to rescind the requirement that employers and plan sponsors obtain and use a unique health plan identifier (HPID).
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) required HHS to adopt a standard unique health plan identifier, to standardize the electronic transmission of certain health information. The goal of the requirement was to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system and to decrease the clerical burden on patients, providers, and health plans.
More and more employers are being overwhelmed by all of the compliance requirements associated with managing employee benefits.
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America's "Benefits Balancing Act" study found that 60% of employers are feeling overwhelmed with the increased complexity of managing their benefits programs. One of the main reasons for the additional burden is the Affordable Care Act, with its myriad of compliance and reporting requirements.
The Department of Labor (DOL) issued a final rule that increased the civil penalty amounts that may be imposed on employers under various federal laws. The DOL's final rule implements the 2018 annual adjustments for civil penalties assessed or enforced by the DOL, including penalties under the FLSA, FMLA, OSHA, and ERISA. The increased penalty amounts became effective on January 2, 2018, and may apply for any violations occurring after November 2, 2015.