Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) August 5, 2009
The passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) by Congress in February 2009 will require a whole new set of privacy and security rules for agents that sell health insurance policies. Beginning February 2010, HIPAA will have teeth.
In order to prepare agents, brokers and consultants with the legal documentation and staff training needed to meet these requirements, Simplified Training Solutions (http://www.simplifiedtraining.com) has released a new Tool Kit specifically designed for health insurance agents - HIPAA Privacy/Security and HITECH Compliance Tool Kit for Agents, Brokers and Consultants.
"A key feature of the law is that victims of HIPAA violations may now be eligible for compensation," stated David Curtis Smith, author of the Tool Kit. "This is a significant change from the earlier version of HIPAA and will attract a lot more attention from the legal community," Smith added. Since 2002 Smith has focused on employee benefits and insurance related matters for hundreds of insurance agencies and their clients throughout the United States.
The driver behind this increased attention on HIPAA is another part of the same law that provides up to $44,000 to each physician when his/her practice implements an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system over the next five years. As more health information is stored electronically, Congress felt the need for more stringent privacy and security regulations to protect individuals.
Other key features of the law include:
1. Federal agencies now regulate Business Associates in the same way as Covered Entities for both privacy and security issues. This is perhaps the most significant change for insurance agents and employers.
2. Enforcement actions are now mandated and periodic audits must be conducted by federal regulators to ensure compliance.
3. Insurance agencies and employers must collect signed Business Associate agreements from any third party with whom they share PHI or who may have had access to their client or employee PHI (e.g. cleaning companies, IT firms).
4. The financial penalties have increased significantly and immediately. If the violation is willful, the fine is $50,000 per violation with the maximum penalty of $1.5 million per calendar year.
Since 2004 Simplified Training Solutions (http://www.simplifiedtraining.com) has designed and distributed HIPAA privacy and security tool kits for insurance agents, physicians, dentists, and employers who provide health insurance plans to their employees. The kits include compliance guidelines and staff training. The easy-to-use materials are also distributed by numerous associations including the American Medical Association (AMA), AHIA and SHRM as well as medical suppliers Henry Schein and Patterson Medical.