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Texas Bill Would Make Service via Facebook the Law

Texas lawmakers will consider a bill that would specifically allow for service of legal process via Facebook or other social media sites. House Bill 1989 was introduced earlier this week by Rep. Jeff Leach (R ?Çô Plano), a recently elected lawmaker and an associate at a Dallas law firm. The short bill provides that a Texas court may permit as a method of service ?Ç£an electronic communication sent to the defendant through a social media website,?Ç¥ provided the court finds that: the defendant maintains a social media page on that website; the profile on the social media page is the profile of the defendant; the defendant regularly accesses the social media page account; and the defendant could reasonably be expected to receive actual notice if the electronic communication were sent to the defendant’s account. As we have previously noted, courts in Australia, New Zealand and the UK have permitted service… Continue Reading

New Affordable Care Act FAQ Re: Out-of-Pocket Maximums, Limitations on Cost Sharing, and Coverage for Preventative Services

The U.S. Department of Labor issued FAQs Part XII regarding implementation of various provisions of the ACA. The FAQs clarify that the ACA?ÇÖs annual limit on out-of-pocket maximums applies to all non-grandfathered group health plans, including self-insured and large group health plans. The FAQs also address a variety of issues relating to cost sharing and certain preventative services, including over-the-counter items such as aspirin, immunizations, colonoscopies, ?Ç£well-woman?Ç¥ visits, and contraception. The new FAQs can be found here.

HHS Final Rule Regarding Standards for Essential Health Benefits, Actuarial Value, and Accreditation

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (?Ç£HHS?Ç¥) recently released a final rule addressing essential health benefits, actuarial value, and accreditation requirements under the Affordable Care Act (the ?Ç£ACA?Ç¥). The ACA requires that, effective for plan years beginning on or after 2014, non-grandfathered health plans offered in the individual and small group insurance markets must cover a core package of items and services, known as ?Ç£essential health benefits?Ç¥ (?Ç£EHBs?Ç¥), within ten prescribed categories, and that EHBs be equal in scope to benefits offered by a ?Ç£typical employer plan.?Ç¥ The final rule defines EHBs based on a state-specific benchmark plan. Each state may select a benchmark plan from among several options or default to a designated benchmark plan. In the event that a benchmark plan is missing any of the ten categories of EHBs, the final rule outlines the method for supplementing the benchmark plan. Appendix A to the final… Continue Reading

March 2013