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Compliance Alert: HIPAA Privacy Rules for Small Employer Group Health Plans Effective on April 14

By Joseph J. Lazzarotti and Bruce H. Schwartz
  • April 6, 2004

Company health plans, whether fully insured or self-funded, are most likely covered by the requirements of the Privacy Rules of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This includes traditional health plans, as well as health flexible spending arrangements or other medical expense reimbursement vehicles. The rules become effective for small employer heath plans (plans which paid less than $5 million in premiums or claims in the prior plan year) on April 14, 2004.  A plan is, however, totally exempt from the Privacy Rules if it (i) has fewer than 50 participants (which includes those eligible to participate) and (ii) is administered in-house.  

In a two-part article originally published in December 2003 and January 2004, Jackson Lewis employee benefits specialists discuss the HIPAA Privacy Rules obligations for small employer health plans.      

As a result of the broad application of the Privacy Rules, companies should examine the administration of their health plans to determine what steps for compliance, if any, need to be taken. For more information about the Privacy Rules under HIPAA and what impact they might have on your company's health plans, please contact the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work, or the members of the Jackson Lewis Employee Benefits Practice Group.

©2004 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is prohibited without the express prior written consent of Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm that built its reputation on providing workplace law representation to management. Founded in 1958, the firm has grown to more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries including government relations, healthcare and sports law. More information about Jackson Lewis can be found at www.jacksonlewis.com.

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