Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Final HIPPA nondicriminatory/wellness program rules

Final rules implementing Health Insurance Portability & Accountability (HIPPA) nondiscrimination provisions, and applying them to employee wellness programs, were announced Dec. 12 by the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Treasury, replacing the interim nondiscrimination rules and finalizing proposed wellness program rules, both of which came out in 2001.

The effective date on the final regulations is February 12, 2007. They will be applicable to plan years beginning on or after July 1, 2007.

Today’s Federal Register states, “In general, these final regulations do not change the 2001 interim rules or the proposed rules on wellness programs.” But they don’t republish expired transitional rules regarding individuals denied coverage based on health factors prior to the applicability date of the 2001 interim rules. They do republish, and slightly modify, the special transitional rule for self-funded non-federal government plans denied individual coverage due to the plan’s election to opt out of the nondiscriminatory requirements. ( See 71 FR 75014 )

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