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The Regulatory Stew

ERISA Violations Get More Expensive

I’ve always admired the modesty of regulatory agencies and their polite expression of force. You might be pleased to learn that the Department of Labor (DOL) just issued interim final rules “to adjust the amounts of civil penalties assessed or enforced in its regulations.” Of course, if you understand official language, you know that the…

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Philadelphia Catholics Agree to $650,000 HIPAA Fine

Business Associates who fail to conduct health information risk assessments and adopt required security policies and procedures face a growing threat of discovery and fines. Catholic Health Care Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (CHCS) got more than a prayerful penance after violating HIPAA rules. The $650,000 fine imposed by HHS arose from the reported theft of a CHCS issued, unencrypted…

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Protecting Information – Mixed Messages

Don’t show me anything, don’t send me anything, don’t even speak to me. It’s the only way I can think of to avoid the growing liabilities associated with failure to secure personal information. Recent guidance from federal HIPAA regulators makes information security optional for patients the law was written to protect. Before you wander off, information…

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Eating Soup with a Fork – TPA Licensing not the Right Tool

This past legislative session, the Washington House of Representatives considered regulation of third party administrators (TPAs) as recommended by the state Insurance Commissioner. After some confusion over what the Commissioner intended and what should be amended, the bill died a quiet death in committee. Policymakers quickly discovered that TPA regulation had become a surrogate for indirectly addressing…

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When Discrimination is a Good Thing

Words matter. The meaning and use of words matter even more. That’s why discrimination can be a great thing – if you’re talking about insurance. Why? For one reason, folks who are careless should pay more for insurance than folks who are careful. Insurers don’t care why folks are careless; insurers want to be “discriminatory”…

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