News to Know – May 2015

OSHA Updates Guidance for Preventing Violence Against Health Care Workers

Health care and social service workers are almost four times as likely to be injured as a result of work-related violence as the average American worker.

To assist employers in their prevention efforts, OSHA recently released an update to its Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers. The updated guidelines include industry best practices and incorporate the most effective ways to reduce the risk of violence in a range of healthcare and social service settings.

The revised guidelines incorporate new research that has been conducted since the last updates were made back in 2004 on topics such as:

  • Causes of workplace violence in healthcare and social service settings
  • Risk factors that accompany working with patients or clients who display violent behavior
  • Appropriate preventive measures that can be taken
  • Keeping your company and team abreast of updates like these can keep your employees and your organization safe. If you have any questions about preventing violence against health care workers, or OSHA guidelines, contact the trusted team at Conner Insurance. To obtain a copy of the new guidelines, visit https://www.osha.gov.

HHS Issues Final Rule Affecting ACA for 2016

On Feb. 27, 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published its final Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2016. This final rule describes benefit and payment parameters applicable to the 2016 benefit year, including standards relating to:

  • The reinsurance program’s annual contribution rate for 2016;
  • The 2016 open enrollment period for individual policies; and
  • The 2016 annual limitations on cost-sharing
The reinsurance program is a transitional program to help stabilize premiums for individual market coverage during the first three years of Exchange operation, from 2014 to 2016. The program collects a fee from health insurance issuers and some self-insured group health plans. The 2015 rate is $44 per enrollee, and the 2016 rate is $27 per enrollee.
The final rule also sets the annual open enrollment period for non-grandfathered policies in the individual market for the 2016 benefit year and beyond. The final rule changes the open enrollment period from the proposed notice. The annual open enrollment period for 2016 will be Nov. 1, 2015, through Jan. 31, 2016.
Additionally, the rule set the annual limitation on cost-sharing. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires non-grandfathered health plans to have an out-of-pocket maximum on essential health benefits. This overall annual limit must be updated annually. For 2015, the out-of-pocket maximum is $6,600 for self-only coverage and $13,200 for family coverage. Under the final rule, for 2016 the out-of-pocket maximum increases to $6,850 for self-only coverage and $13,700 for family coverage.
The final rule also clarifies that the annual limit on cost-sharing applies to the plan year, not the calendar year, for non-calendar year plans. In addition, the self-only coverage maximum applies for any individual, whether that individual is covered under either a self-only or a family health plan.

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