HIPAA Compliance Training for Business Associates
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 were a federal law enacted by the 104th United States Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 21, 1996.
It was passed to protect individuals’ privacy and provide certain standards for health insurance. Since its inception, this act has come into use repeatedly. It was designed to strengthen the Security Exchange Program (SIP), fix insurance fraud, and promote health care quality.
The HIPAA provides protection and strengthens laws that govern the privacy of individuals who obtain and maintain private health information. HIPAA compliant business associates are defined as anyone who enters into a business relationship with an organization that uses HIPAA compliant software to transmit protected health information.
This means that all health information about a client is protected in this transaction. Also, HIPAA compliant clients may use that information to determine their eligibility for government programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) act consists of 5 titles
- Title I of HIPAA protects health insurance coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs. Requires the coverage of and also limits restrictions that a group health plan can place on benefits for preexisting conditions. Group health plans may refuse to provide benefits in relation to preexisting conditions for either 12 months following enrollment in the plan or 18 months in the case of late enrollment. It allows individuals to reduce the exclusion period by the amount of time that they have had “creditable coverage” before enrolling in the plan and after any “significant breaks” in coverage.
- Title II of HIPAA, known as the Administrative Simplification (AS) provisions, requires the establishment of national standards for electronic health care transactions and national identifiers for providers, health insurance plans, and employers. It establishes policies and procedures for maintaining the privacy and the security of individually identifiable health information, outlines numerous offenses relating to health care, and establishes civil and criminal penalties for violations. It also creates several programs to control fraud and abuse within the health-care system
- Title III of HIPAA Compliance Training sets guidelines for pre-tax medical spending accounts. It standardizes the amount that may be saved per person in a pre-tax medical savings account. Beginning in 1997, medical savings account (“MSA”) are available to employees covered under an employer-sponsored high deductible plan of a small employer and self-employed individuals.
- Title IV of HIPAA Compliance Training sets guidelines for group health plans. It specifies conditions for group health plans regarding coverage of persons with pre-existing conditions and modifies continuation of coverage requirements. It also clarifies continuation coverage requirements and includes COBRA clarification.
- Title V of HIPAA Compliance Training governs company-owned life insurance policies. This includes provisions related to company-owned life insurance for employers providing company-owned life insurance premiums, prohibiting the tax-deduction of interest on life insurance loans, company endowments, or contracts related to the company. It also repeals the financial institution rule to interest allocation rules. Finally, it amends provisions of law relating to people who give up United States citizenship or permanent residence, expanding the expatriation tax to be assessed against those deemed to be giving up their U.S. status for tax reasons, and making ex-citizens’ names part of the public record through the creation of the Quarterly Publication of Individuals Who Have Chosen to Expatriate
The HIPAA defines who is a covered entity under the Act
Covered entities include healthcare providers, health information custodians, and covered entities and their employees. However, there are exceptions to some of the definitions. These include financial and insurance companies, as well as proprietary information technology companies.
Under the Act, every covered entity must ensure that it complies with certain HIPAA regulations. HIPAA compliance involves three elements: identity and security of patients, protection of private health information, and timely disclosure and dissemination of information.
For businesses that are not covered entities, HIPAA also requires them to engage in continuous quality management systems and audits. Businesses must also prepare and distribute written privacy policies and comply with notice and customer consent requirements for all employees and agents.
In 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) implemented a new HIPAA security rule. Known as the HIPAA Privacy Rule, this legislation applies to both private individuals and businesses that maintain private healthcare information in the workplace.
This law enforcement policy was established to help employers and healthcare providers to prevent the unauthorized release of protected health information by employees. According to the HIPAA Security Rule, a covered entity must ensure that it is aware of its employees’ rights to privacy and has systems in place to monitor activities that may reflect adversely on those rights.
Also, if the business is not a large corporation, it may not be required to be HIPAA certified
As a small business owner, you can choose to get your business certified, or you can work to meet all of these requirements for yourself.
If you want to test your business’s compliance to become HIPAA certified, you can choose to become certified by third-party organizations. Third-party audits to help ensure that your company meets all HIPAA guidelines. HIPAA compliant employers and businesses have the advantage of reduced premium payments and higher levels of productivity.
The cost savings from a HIPAA compliant workplace can be significant for small businesses. You may choose to become a HIPAA certified yourself through one of the third-party organizations that offer this training. You’ll learn what the changes in HIPAA guidelines mean for your business and how to go about implementing them.
When you choose to become certified, you’ll demonstrate your understanding of the Security Rule, and your commitment to ongoing training.
You can then show potential employers that you are committed to ongoing security best practices so that your business associates will feel secure in their jobs. With the right training and guidance, it should be easy for you to meet all of the HIPAA compliance requirements for your company.
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