EBSA Unveils New HIPAA Compliance Program

February 26, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has unveiled a new compliance assistance program to help employers and health plans fulfill their obligations under health laws.

EBSA’s “HIPAA Compliance Assistance Program (H-CAP)” will help the benefits community address specific compliance issues with a variety of laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA), the Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act (Newborns’ Act), and the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA).   Generally, all ERISA health plans must comply with these laws, with some exceptions for small businesses, according to the EBSA.

H-CAP is a three-pronged program that includes:

  • a new section of the EBSA Web page dedicated to health law material,
  • sponsorship of compliance assistance workshops around the country, and
  • new publications targeted to assist group health plans and health insurers comply with the health laws.

New Publications

The new publications include:

  • a self-audit checklist;
  • a guide summarizing the laws’ notice requirements, including sample language; and
  • updated tips for avoiding the 15 most common mistakes.

EBSA also released a report showing that group health plans are generally complying with the health care laws, based on an EBSA 2001 audit of nearly 1,300 group health plans.   The report indicated that compliance with the non-notice provisions of the laws (where the most significant non-compliance was found) varied from:

  • 71.9% under HIPAA,
  • 92% under MHPA,
  • 94.8% under the Newborns’ Act, and
  • 95.5% under WHCRA.  

EBSA used the report to develop the new H-CAP program, targeting those areas where non-compliance was most prevalent.  

The new Web page, publications, and report are available at www.dol.gov/ebsa under Compliance Assistance or by calling toll-free 1-866-444-EBSA (3272).