We are now one month away from the compliance date for the Omnibus HITECH Act rule, which is September 23, 2013. It’s high time for covered entities and business associates to attend to necessary changes to business associate agreements (particularly as the business associate obligations now flow down to lower tiers) and for covered entities to update their notices of privacy practices (the required changes depend upon whether you are health plan or a health care provider.) The AMA News reports an significant uptick in purchases of cybersecurity insurance coverage by health care providers. Good idea.

The Kaiser Family Foundation released its 2013 Employer Health Benefits Survey. “The 2013 survey included almost three thousand interviews with non-federal public and private firms.Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached
$16,351 this year, up 4 percent from last year, with workers on average
paying $4,565 towards the cost of their coverage,”  2013 FEHBP premium generally increases fell below that average (3.4% on average according to OPM). 2014 FEHBP premium changes will be announced next month.

In an interesting development, United Healthcare announced this week that members can now pay their providers via UHC’s online claims management portal, myclaimsmanager. UHC teamed up with a company called Instamed to create this feature. Developments like this make the FEHBlog shake his head when he thinks about the AMA’s animosity toward health plans. Have a great weekend.

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