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Back to Basics: Furnishing the Notice of Privacy Practices

A review of regulations still on the books that require disclosures and notices from self-funded plans.

Executive Order: One In, Two Out

Last week the President signed an Executive Order mandating that for every regulation adopted by a department or agency (e.g., HHS, DOL), two existing regulations must be repealed. This Executive Order was well-received by the healthcare industry, one leader pointing out that last year alone, the government issued 23,531 pages of regulations on health systems and hospitals. Modern Healthcare. As changes draw near, Healthgram won’t speculate or pontificate, but we will provide updates on actions that impact self-funded plans. Meanwhile, we continue our Back to Basics review of regulations still on the books that require disclosures and notices from self-funded plans.

Notice of Privacy Practices

Q1. How must the Notice be provided?

  • Upon request
  • Post on any website that provides information about benefits
  • Furnish to new enrollees upon enrollment. A single Notice may be provided to the named insured (participant) and may be included in enrollment materials.
  • Every three (3) years, distribute a Notice of Availability of the Notice of Privacy Practices, reminding participants that the Notice is available and how to obtain a copy.
  • The 3-year reminder is not required if Notice is provided annually upon renewal
    HHS Fact Sheets Notice, Notice of Availability

Q2. How may the Notice be furnished to participants?

  • Hand-delivery
  • First class mail
  • Second or third class mail with return and forwarding postage guaranteed and address correction requested
  • By email if the individual agrees to electronic notice. (See, prior Update).
    HIPAA Final Rules combined

Overview of Notices Routinely Required of Self-Funded Plans

Notices furnished annually

  • WHCRA
  • CHIPRA
  • Medicare Part D

Notice furnished every three years

  • Notice of Availability of the Notice of Privacy Practices

Notices included in the SPD

  • Special Enrollment Rights
  • Newborn’s Act Description of Rights
  • Grandfathered Plan
  • Initial COBRA notice

Notices for New Hires

  • Notice of Coverage Options
  • Notice of Privacy Practices

See also, Reporting and Disclosure Guide for Employee Benefit Plans

This Update provides information of general interest and is not intended as legal or tax advice of any kind.

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