Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Webinar on data breaches and breach notification

Senn Dunn invites you to participate in an Assurex Global webinar on January 19 from 12:00 to 1:30 PM EST.

Reserve your seat now at:

Human Resources and Benefit Administrators need to know what a Data Breach is and what actions must be taken to avoid fines and civil actions. This seminar will explain what a Data Breach is and what actions the organization must take under HIPAA and state breach laws. Learn what data elements are included, what notifications must be made, to whom and when the notifications must be made. The most common sources for data breaches will also be presented.

Learn what HR and the IT Department can do minimize the chance of a Data Breach. Most breach laws require that written Policies and Procedures are in place so that your organization can execute the appropriate actions if a breach occurs. Common sense and somewhat more complex safeguards will be discussed that, if in place, will greatly limit your risk to Data Breaches.

Please note: times for AG webinars vary and are listed for the Eastern time zone.

Presented by:
Mark Hoaglund, Principal HIPAA Consultant, Benefit Comply, LLC
Mark Hoaglund is the principal HIPAA consultant for Benefit Comply, LLC.  Previously Mark provided HIPAA support and consulting to employers and insurance organizations though his affiliation with HIPAAanswers, and has helped more than 200 companies with their HIPAA compliance needs. Before becoming a HIPAA Compliance Specialist, Mark worked in the technology area for Fortune 500 companies including Pillsbury and Honeywell as a Senior Manager and Project Manager. He has extensive experience with Data Security and Security Management. Mark held lead positions in application development, application support, and computer operations.

Monday, December 19, 2011

HHS will allow states to determine essential health benefits

HHS announced Friday that they will give states broad latitude to define the minimum benefits that many health insurance policies will be required to offer under the 2010 healthcare law. 

Under the Department’s intended approach, HHS says, states would have the flexibility to select an existing health plan to set the “benchmark” for the items and services included in the essential health benefits package. States would choose one of the following health insurance plans as a benchmark:
  • One of the three largest small group plans in the state;
  • One of the three largest state employee health plans;
  • One of the three largest federal employee health plan options;
  • The largest HMO plan offered in the state’s commercial market.
The benefits and services included in the health insurance plan selected by the state would be the essential health benefits package. Plans could modify coverage within a benefit category so long as they do not reduce the value of coverage.

Consistent with the law, states must ensure the essential health benefits package covers items and services in at least 10 categories of care, including preventive care, emergency services, maternity care, hospital and physician services, and prescription drugs.

According to the New York Times, Friday's decision "would allow significant variations in benefits from state to state, much like the current differences in state Medicaid programs and the Children's Health Insurance Program."

For more information, please see the HHS News Release.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

UnitedHealthcare airs new online UHC.TV

UnitedHealthcare announced that it has launched UHC.TV, a new online television network designed to deliver health- and wellness-related information to all Americans. Network features include:
  • Sidewalk Talk - With the "average Joe or Jane" directly from the sidewalks across America to help clarify health care myths and truths.
  • Laugh Rx - A variety of comedians talk about serious life matters in a light-hearted, humorous manner.
For more information, please view the press release from UHC. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

BCBSNC to transition IT infrastructure services to Fujitsu America

On Thursday, BCBSNC announced it signed an agreement with Fujitsu America, Inc. (FAI), a global technology services company, under which FAI will purchase the BCBSNC data center, located in Research Triangle Park, and provide a variety of IS support services to BCBSNC.

 Please see the press release for more information.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Carolina Advanced Health grand opening

Carolina Advanced Health, the new primary care physician practice from BCBSNC and UNC Health Care, is open for business as of Wednesday. The new medical practice is a collaborative approach aimed at enhancing efficiency and quality of care by coordinating a patient’s health care under one roof. By doing this, the practice hopes to improve health and quality standards and reduce complications among patients--both of which are expected to reduce medical costs.

Please see the press release below and this short video for more information. Visit for more detailed information about the practice.

Eligible Member Mailings Begin in January
Carolina Advanced Health treats eligible BCBSNC customers who are over 18, are covered by a participating BCBSNC health plan and living with any of the following chronic illnesses: coronary artery disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic heart failure and asthma. 

Beginning in January, BCBSNC will send letters to identified members to invite them to become a patient of the practice. These members will be identified by living near the practice and having one or more of the above conditions. Individual and fully-insured group members will be included in the mailings. At this time, self-funded groups will not be included.

The member mailings will continue on a monthly basis to ensure the number of new incoming patients aligns with the practice’s capacity to manage the care appropriately.
  BCBSNC will provide more information about the member mailings before they begin.

If a BCBSNC member is interested in using Carolina Advanced Health before receiving a letter, they may call the customer service number on the back of their ID card to see if they are eligible.

Friday, December 2, 2011

BCBSNC contracts with new pharmacy benefit manager

As part of BCBSNC's effort to reduce costs as a company and for customers, BCBSNC has contracted with a new pharmacy benefits management vendor. Pending regulatory approval, Prime Therapeutics will administer pharmacy benefits for commercial customers whose pharmacy benefits are handled by BCBSNC. This change is effective April 1, 2012. BCBSNC has stated this change will result in lower pharmacy costs for customers and will provide more flexibility regarding services and programs.

Please see the FAQs for more information.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

UHC mails annual compliance notice to subscribers

UnitedHealthcare (UHC) announced it has mailed the Annual Rights and Resource Disclosure notice to fully insured subscribers this week to meet annual notification requirements from health plan accreditation groups, such as the National Committee for Quality Assurance, and various federal and state mandates.

The 2011 Rights and Resource Disclosure postcard notices were mailed on Nov. 29 to fully insured subscribers with UnitedHealthcare, Oxford, UHC West, Neighborhood Health Partnership (NHP), UnitedHealthcare Plan of the River Valley and legacy MAMSI life and health benefit plans.

The postcards provide an overview of the type of information included in the Annual Rights and Resource Disclosure and direct members to view their compliance documents in full at or to elect a printed copy, if preferred. View a sample of the 2011 Annual Rights and Resource Disclosure.