The compliance deadline for all organizations regarding the new HIPAA Privacy, Security Breach Notification, and Enforcement Rules (the “Omnibus Rule”) is set for September 23, 2013. For certain employers, these agreements won’t need to be updated until September 22, 2014, if their policies aren’t modified or renewed prior to that date. Whether or not your business organization will be implementing the new Omnibus Rule this year or next year, human resource managers will want to take the time now to review HIPAA compliance rules and regulations in order to make the necessary updates when the time comes.
Coverage Under the Omnibus Rule
Human resource planning should concentrate on making sure that organizations are in compliance by examining the following employee benefit plan rules and regulations. A briefing document from Poyner Spruill LLP offered a few suggestions, including:
- Ensure major medical plans, wellness programs, healthcare FSAs, employee assistance programs, and other programs where protected health plans (PHIs) are enforced.
- Examine business associate and subcontractor relationships to determine whether or not an associate agreement should be put into place.
- Use employee management software to review and adjust all existing healthcare plans to meet new HIPAA rules and requirements.
- Review and revise HIPAA language for all healthcare, wrap, and cafeteria plan documents
- Thoroughly revise employee contract notice of privacy practices (NPP) to reflect the new HIPAA rules and distribute the revised documents to employees.
- Take the time to educate your employees about the new Omnibus Rules and regulations enforced by HIPAA. Training management software is a great HR tool to educate employees about the new rules and compliance regulations. Keeping a copy of the policies in an employee self-service system makes it easy for workers to easily access and reference information should any questions arise after the initial training.
- Maintain personnel management software to ensure employees execute appropriate business agreements with subcontractors.
- After training, make sure to hand out new employee contracts and have all workers sign an updated, written breach notification document.
Offering Alternative Coverage and Benefits Packages
A brief based off of the Prudential’s Seventh Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today & Beyond, reveals that companies are experiencing a higher employee satisfaction rate when their employers offer at least one type of voluntary benefit. The source stated that employees interested in receiving voluntary benefits from their employees rose by 10 percent from last year’s report, so how can your company jump on the voluntary benefits package trend, and what exactly is making this alternative insurance option so popular?
Why Employees Like Alternative Benefits
More employers are beginning to offer employees the option to purchase insurance coverage based on their immediate needs, stated Prudential. Having the option to purchase coverage through the employer-based enrollment systems makes it easier for workers to educate themselves about different coverage options and is a great tool to assess their current and future needs. These options help employees take control of finances with a more hands-on approach. Human resource managers can monitor alternative benefit packages using software for payroll to make sure the correct tax deductions are taken to cover those enrolled in the alternative programs along with those who opt to stay within traditional medical and Medicare programs.
Types of Voluntary Benefits Coverage Options
Recent statistics from the Seventh Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today & Beyond concluded that 44 percent of brokers expect voluntary benefits packages to increase over the next five years. Experts foresee critical illness coverage options to have the highest increase in demand among employees and employers with a predicted 41 percent increase, added the source. Other voluntary benefit packages Prudential expects employers to see an increase in demand for include:
- 31 percent increase in accident insurance.
- 30 percent increase for long-term disability insurance.
- 28 percent increase in short-term disability insurance.
- 27 percent increase for dental insurance coverage.
- 25 percent increase in demand for life insurance.
Employees who participated in the study said having voluntary benefit package options provides a wider range of affordable options concerning insurance and benefit coverage.