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Group Insurance Health Care and the HIPAA Privacy Rule

HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. When I hear people talking about HIPAA, they are usually not talking about the original Act. They are talking about the Privacy Rule that was issued as a result of the HIPAA in the form of a Notice of Health Information Practices.The United States Department of Health & Human Services official Summary of the HIPAA Privacy Rule is 25 pages long, and that is just a summary of the key elements. So as you can imagine, it covers a lot of ground. What I would like to offer you here is a summary of the basics of the Privacy Rule.When it was enacted in 1996, the Privacy Rule established guidelines for the protection of individuals’s health information. The guidelines are written such that they make sure that an individual’s health records are protected while at the same time allowing needed information to be released in the course of providing health care and protecting the public’s health and well being. In other words, not just anyone can see a person’s health records. But, if you want someone such as a health provider to see your records, you can sign a release giving them access to your records.So just what is your health information and where does it come from? Your health information is held or transmitted by health plans, health care clearinghouses, and health care providers. These are called covered entities in the wording of the rule.These guidelines also apply to what are called business associates of any health plans, health care clearinghouses, and health care providers. Business associates are those entities that offer legal, actuarial, accounting, consulting, data aggregation, management, administrative, accreditation, or financial services.So, what does a typical Privacy Notice include?
The type of information collected by your health plan.
A description of what your health record/information includes.
A summary of your health information rights.
The responsibilities of the group health plan.

Let’s look at these one at a time:Information Collected by Your Health Plan:The group healthcare plan collects the following types of information in order to provide benefits:Information that you provide to the plan to enroll in the plan, including personal information such as your address, telephone number, date of birth, and Social Security number.Plan contributions and account balance information.The fact that you are or have been enrolled in the plans.Health-related information received from any of your physicians or other healthcare providers.Information regarding your health status, including diagnosis and claims payment information.Changes in plan enrollment (e.g., adding a participant or dropping a participant, adding or dropping a benefit.)Payment of plan benefits.Claims adjudication.Case or medical management.Other information about you that is necessary for us to provide you with health benefits.Understanding Your Health Record/Information:Each time you visit a hospital, physician, or other healthcare provider, a record of your visit is made. Typically, this record contains your symptoms, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, and a plan for future care or treatment.This information, often referred to as your health or medical record, serves as a:Basis for planning your care and treatment.Means of communication among the many health professionals who contribute to your care.Legal document describing the care you received.Means by which you or a third-party payer can verify that services billed were actually provided.Tool in educating health professionals.Source of data for medical research.Source of information for public health officials charged with improving the health of the nation.Source of data for facility planning and marketing.Tool with which the plan sponsor can assess and continually work to improve the benefits offered by the group healthcare plan. Understanding what is in your record and how your health information is used helps you to:Ensure its accuracy.Better understand who, what, when, where, and why others may access your health information.Make more informed decisions when authorizing disclosure to others.Your Health Information Rights:Although your health record is the physical property of the plan, the healthcare practitioner, or the facility that compiled it, the information belongs to you. You have the right to:Request a restriction on otherwise permitted uses and disclosures of your information for treatment, payment, and healthcare operations purposes and disclosures to family members for care purposes.Obtain a paper copy of this notice of information practices upon request, even if you agreed to receive the notice electronically.Inspect and obtain a copy of your health records by making a written request to the plan privacy officer.Amend your health record by making a written request to the plan privacy officer that includes a reason to support the request.Obtain an accounting of disclosures of your health information made during the previous six years by making a written request to the plan privacy officer.Request communications of your health information by alternative means or at alternative locations.Revoke your authorization to use or disclose health information except to the extent that action has already been taken.Group Health Plan Responsibilities:The group healthcare plan is required to:Maintain the privacy of your health information.Provide you with this notice as to the planâEUR(TM)s legal duties and privacy practices with respect to information that is collected and maintained about you.Abide by the terms of this notice.Notify you if the plan is unable to agree to a requested restriction.Accommodate reasonable requests you may have to communicate health information by alternative means or at alternative locations. The plan will restrict access to personal information about you only to those individuals who need to know that information to manage the plan and its benefits. The plan will maintain physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards that comply with federal regulations to guard your personal information. Under the privacy standards, individuals with access to plan information are required to:Safeguard and secure the confidential personal financial information and health information as required by law. The plan will only use or disclose your confidential health information without your authorization for purposes of treatment, payment, or healthcare operations. The plan will only disclose your confidential health information to the plan sponsor for plan administration purposes.Limit the collection, disclosure, and use of participant’s healthcare information to the minimum necessary to administer the plan.Permit only trained, authorized individuals to have access to confidential information.Other items that may be addressed include:Communication with family. Under the plan provisions, the company may disclose to an employee’s family member, guardian, or any other person you identify, health information relevant to that person’s involvement in your obtaining healthcare benefits or payment related to your healthcare benefits.Notification. The plan may use or disclose information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative, or another person responsible for your care, your location, general condition, plan benefits, or plan enrollment.Business associates. There are some services provided to the plan through business associates. Examples include accountants, attorneys, actuaries, medical consultants, and financial consultants, as well as those who provide managed care, quality assurance, claims processing, claims auditing, claims monitoring, rehabilitation, and copy services. When these services are contracted, it may be necessary to disclose your health information to our business associates in order for them to perform the job we have asked them to do. To protect employee’s health information, however, the company will require the business associate to appropriately safeguard this information.Benefit coordination. The plan may disclose health information to the extent authorized by and to the extent necessary to comply with plan benefit coordination.Workers compensation. The plan may disclose health information to the extent authorized by and to the extent necessary to comply with laws relating to workers compensation or other similar programs established by law.Law enforcement. The plan may disclose health information for law enforcement purposes as required by law or in response to a valid subpoena.Sale of business. If the plan sponsor’s business is being sold, then medical information may be disclosed. The plan reserves the right to change its practices and to make the new provisions effective for all protected health information it maintains. Should the company’s information practices change, it will mail a revised notice to the address supplied by each employee.The plan will not use or disclose employee’s health information without their authorization, except as described in this notice.In Summary:As an employee, you should be aware of your rights and feel confident that your employer is abiding by the guidelines of the Privacy Rule.As an employer offering group insurance health care benefits, you should make your employees aware of their rights and should give them an avenue to obtain more information or to report a problem.When you get your health insurance coverage through a broker that specializes in employee benefits, they should provide you with all of the necessary information and Privacy Notice to make sure you comply with the HIPAA guidelines.

Why CPA Accountant Marketing Programs Fail

After developing five accounting firms from 1984 to 1994, I spent the next fifteen years assisting over 2,000 accountants develop and improve their accounting firms as a Practice Development Consultant. This experience showed that many accountants had implemented many marketing programs that fail.The primary reason most accounting marketing programs fail is because the accountant attempts to treat his or her services as a commodity. Unfortunately, this often leads to very low response and low quality of clientele. There are volumes of accountants who have tried very expensive marketing programs offered by many companies lured by difficult-to-enforce guarantees experiencing disastrous financial consequences. The majority of these marketing failures centralize on the programs using commodity-marketing techniques.The accounting industry is not commodity driven; it is driven by trust and loyalty. Trust has to be established. It cannot be sold. Accordingly, if an accountant attempts to sell his or her accounting services as a commodity or product, he or she will fail.The first step for an accounting services marketing program should be to identify a business that is seeking the services of a CPA or Accountant. If a business is pleased with its current CPA or accountant and is not seeking the services of a new CPA or Accountant, that business is not going to change accountants. Any attempt of an accountant using a marketing program to sever that relationship by aggressive selling techniques will only diminish the business’s perception of the accountant and his or her firm. The wise accountant will never pull a businessperson away from his or her existing accountant if that person is satisfied with the accountant or CPA. Acknowledge the situation as a good one for both the business and the CPA Accountant. Never attempt severing that which is good for the business, neither the CPA Accountant nor the Accounting Industry.Having acknowledged that a CPA Accountant’s marketing program should have the capacity to identify a business seeking the services of a new CPA Accountant, the second step the accountants marketing program should produce is to have the business seeking a new CPA Accountant to become interested in you and your accounting firm. If your marketing program has a business seeking a new CPA Accountant becoming interested in you, the new client meeting will be much like meeting with referred prospective clients. They will be openly interested in you. You won’t feel yourself in the position of having to sell them into using you or your firm. Remember, the accounting industry is based on trust. The key for your success in your marketing program is its ability to provide you the opportunity to establish trust and demonstrate how you can help the prospective client.Once you have a business in need of accounting services interested in you, the third step your accounting services marketing program should perform is showing you how to demonstrate your ability to help your prospective client in your presentation. Too many accounting marketing programs fail because they are predicated on the CPA Accountant performing sales presentations to new prospective clients. Businesses are not interested in being sold accounting services. Businesses are interested in how the CPA Accountant can help them and their business. The CPA Accountant should provide the examples of how they can help and apply those examples to his or her business. It is important he or she understands and sees the value you are providing. Most businesses do not understand the value a CPA accountant provides. If your accountant-marketing program centralizes your presentations about you and your firm, it is the wrong marketing program; the program must centralize your presentation around the prospective client and your ability to help him or her.Finally, the fourth step your accountant’s marketing program should provide you is techniques to price your services in relationship to the value you demonstrated in your presentation. Your objective is not to discount your firm’s services to entice a new client to come on board, but to price your service as a good value in relationship to the value you are providing. For example, if a prospective client could choose to spend $1,000 to have a CPA or Accountant prepare his or her business tax return, he or she or may not choose to do so. However, if that same CPA or accountant showed the prospective client tax-saving strategies that will save him or her save $5,000 per year in taxes, the client will definitely choose to have that CPA Accountant prepare his or her taxes for $1,000. He or she will perceive using that CPA or Accountant of great value. Observe in the example, the primary factor of why the prospective client decided to come on board was not the absolute cost of the service but the value received in relationship to that cost.In summary, there are four steps an accountant’s marketing program should employ. It should:1) identify a business seeking a new CPA or Accountant,2) generate an interest in that business in using you or your firm,3) show you how to demonstrate value in your new client presentation, and4) price your firm’s services in relationship to your value.If your accountant’s marketing program fails to employ any of the four basic steps or attempts to market accounting services as a commodity, it is recommended that you abandon the implementation of that program. You will avoid frustration and possible financial disasters. Remember, the key to a successful CPA Accountant’s marketing program is never sales oriented. It is placing you and your firm in contact with a business that has a need and is interested in you or your firm fulfilling that need.

Cool Benefits Why Hiring Custom Home Builder Is Best Fit Source

Are you planning to schedule a building in the upcoming months? building requires pre-planning of everything to carry the project smooth and hassle-free. Obviously, who doesn’t love to have a unique and best custom home? Make sure you invest in the right Custom Builder Canberra company to make your home building worthy and durable. Buying a readymade home is the common thing that every single person does nowadays but building the dream home from scratch is an art and a custom home building project gives stunning results. A unique home attracts the best buyer for your home if you wish to sell the house in the future. The returns a great resale value as compared to normal homes.Keep Reading The Blog To Know The Cool Benefits Of Hiring A Custom Builder!
1) Creating stunning home designsThe reputed home builder will always come with a portfolio and other custom designs that will help you to pick the best designs for your home building project. Some homeowners might not have an idea from where to start the custom home building project but with the experienced, it will be easy to choose the design that fits best similar to your dream home. Also, it offers the opportunities to modify the plan flexibly according to the project changes.2) No compromise with the home buildingWith the right company, you don’t have to compromise on anything. You can easily edit and modify the plan and designs with the ongoing project. So, with a custom home builder, you will have the complete right and freedom to change the designs and other features anytime. So, it reduces a lot of stress and other things because custom builder mainly handles everything related to a project and doesn’t process further without your permission.3) Cost-effective serviceCustom home building is cheaper as compared to paying the price for the readymade house. In custom building, you only pay for the service you use. It depends on individual choice because some people just want to have a classy home without any luxurious designs and facilities. So, with custom home building, you can plan your construction project however you want. You can get a separate estimate of the total price of the home building project.4) Offers flexible financing optionsBy hiring custom home builders, you can have flexible payment options and as a buyer, you can easily negotiate the price with a comfortable mortgage rate. Many custom home builders offer season offers and cash incentives to attract buyers and go for home construction. It might have a larger down payment but you can easily maintain to negotiate the best reliable price according to your home building project.Winding-up: Above are just some benefits of hiring a custom home builder, according to the seasonal offer and the company you hire, you can still have the benefit of various other things. Choose the Custom Builder Canberra that understands your requirement clearly and make the dream home project come true.