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Settlement for Breach of HIPAA Privacy Protections Costs Health Plan $1.2 Million

Affinity Health Plan, Inc., a managed care plan, filed a breach report with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (?Ç£HHS?Ç¥) after discovering that it had returned leased photocopiers to the leasing agents without first erasing the electronic protected health information (?Ç£EPHI?Ç¥) that was stored on the copiers?ÇÖ hard drives.?á The breach was estimated to have affected 344,579 individuals.?á HHS investigated the breach and concluded that Affinity had (1) impermissibly disclosed EPHI, (2) failed to perform a risk assessment of storing EPHI on the hard drives, and (3) failed to implement policies for the disposal of EPHI on the hard drives.?á Affinity entered into a settlement agreement with HHS, providing for a $1.2 million payment and a corrective action plan requiring Affinity to use best efforts to retrieve the hard drives and to take other measures to safeguard EPHI.?á A link to the HHS website discussing the settlement is… Continue Reading

IRS Launches Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions Website

The Internal Revenue Service (?Ç£IRS?Ç¥)?árecently launched a new website to explain tax provisions under the Affordable Care Act (?Ç£ACA?Ç¥) that are in effect now and those that will go into effect in 2014 and beyond. ?áThe website?ÇÖs home page is divided into three sections that explain the various tax benefits and responsibilities for (1) individuals and families, (2) employers, and (3) other organizations, such as insurers and tax exempt organizations.?á Topics covered include, among other things, premium tax credits for individuals as well as new benefits and responsibilities for employers. ?áThe IRS also released an online flyer to help individuals locate ACA resources available through other government organizations. The IRS?ÇÖs new ACA website is available?áhere.?á The online flyer is available here.

August 2013