Today, the House of Representatives passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the “ARPA”). The ARPA has already been approved by the Senate and is expected to be quickly signed into law by President Biden. We recently published a client alert addressing Title IX, Subtitle H of the new legislation, which includes
On November 18, 2015, the Department of Labor (the “Department”) published a notice of Proposed Rulemaking at 80 Fed. Reg. 222 (the “Proposed Rule”) to amend ERISA’s claims procedures (29 C.F.R. 2560.503-1) as they apply to claims for disability benefits. One of the purposes of the Proposed Rule is to make ERISA’s claims procedures for disability claims consistent with the Affordable Care Act’s claims procedures for group health plans. The Proposed Rule contains several components.
“Sweeping changes” is how Leon Rodriquez, of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (OCR), characterized the effect of the final omnibus Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rule published in the Federal Register on January 25, 2013 at 78 Fed. Reg. 5566 (Omnibus Rule). There can be no disputing that statement. Indeed the 563-page Omnibus Rule makes a long list of significant changes to existing regulations. These include, among others:
- modification to the standard for reporting breaches of unsecured personal health information (PHI);
- extension of HHS enforcement authority over business associates;
- expansion of the definition of the term business associate to include Health Information Organizations, E-prescribing Gateways, entities that provide data transmission services for PHI and which require routine access to such PHI, and personal health record vendors;
- modifications to the requirements for business associate agreements;
- new obligations for business associates to enter into business associate agreements with their own subcontractors;
- the removal of limitations on the liability of covered entities for the acts and omissions of business associates;
- changes to the requirements for notices of privacy practices;
- new limitations on the sale of PHI;
- new limitations on and clarifications concerning the use and disclosure of PHI for marketing;
- relaxation of certain limitations on the use of PHI for fundraising; and
- improvement to the regulations concerning authorizations for the use or disclosure of PHI for research.
Except as noted below with respect to provisions related to the requirements for business associate agreements and arrangements relating to the sale of PHI, the deadline for complying with the amended HIPAA regulations is September 23, 2013. Accordingly, covered entities, business associates, and business associate subcontractors will have to act expeditiously to come into compliance with the Omnibus Rule.
Below, we review the changes implemented in the Omnibus Rule in greater detail, and address some of the action steps that covered entities and business associates should take to comply.
On January 2, 2013, President Obama signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (“ATRA”) into law. ATRA, adopted as an alternative to stepping over the “fiscal cliff,” preserves most of the Bush-era tax cuts and reinstates several other lapsed tax provisions. Several provisions of ATRA are of particular interest to employers, employees, and employee benefit administrators, because they offer new options for retirement planning or extend certain existing benefits options. Even more recently, the IRS has issued guidance with respect to certain key aspects of ATRA related to qualified transportation fringe benefits.