The Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) at the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) recently issued final regulations (“Reproductive Health Care Rule”) under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) that narrow the permitted uses and disclosures of protected health information (“PHI”) in the context of an individual seeking, obtaining, providing

As we previously reported here, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released Proposed Rules on April 16, 2015 to provide guidance under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on permissible employer incentives for employee participation in wellness programs.  Comments on the proposed rules were due on or before June 19, 2015.  The EEOC received

On April 16, 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released proposed regulations covering wellness programs that involve disability-related inquiries or medical examinations.  The release of the proposed regulations follows months of EEOC enforcement actions against employers alleging that wellness programs sponsored by the employers violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) despite compliance with 2013 regulations jointly issued by the Department of Labor (DOL), the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that permitted such programs under ERISA and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  With a few notable exceptions (described below), the proposed regulations are somewhat consistent with the existing DOL guidance on employer-sponsored wellness programs.  However, the EEOC has requested comments on multiple topics that could significantly alter the regulatory requirements.

Effective January 1, 2015, group health plans and insurers are no longer required to issue a certificate of creditable coverage (“HIPAA Certificate”) to individuals who lost group health plan coverage.  (See final regulations here). As a reminder, HIPAA Certificates were used by individuals to prove that they had continuous health coverage under a prior

On May 29, 2013, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury (the “Departments”) issued final regulations on implementing and expanding employment-based wellness programs. The rules set forth in the final regulations remain largely unchanged from the proposed rules issued on November 20, 2012. For example, as provided for in the proposed rules, the final regulations increase the maximum permissible reward under a health-contingent wellness program offered in connection with a group health plan from 20 percent to 30 percent of the cost of coverage. The final regulations also increase the maximum permissible reward to 50 percent for wellness programs designed to prevent or reduce tobacco use. http://www.proskauer.com/publications/client-alert/new-guidance-on-wellness-programs-issued/.  However, a few points and clarifications are particularly noteworthy: