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The Regulatory Stew

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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President Proposes Elimination of MEWA Common Bond Requirement

President Obama surprised many folks today by proposing to allow small employers and the self-employed to form multiple employer plans without regard to the “common bond” standard required by the Department of Labor. The elimination of the “common bond” requirement would eliminate one of the highest hurdles to the creation of group benefit programs for…

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Another AHP Challenge to Insurance Commissioner

And now for something completely different. Since 2004, Washington State has required all self-funded Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs) to obtain a certificate of authority to conduct business in the state. The statute imposes strict standards of eligibility and detours from federal ERISA interpretations of “bona fide association” with its own unique statutory definition: “Bona…

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