Welcome to AHIA’s Compliance Corner!

We will be posting little known facts that you may or may not have known. We will do our best to keep you up to date on changes in our industry and how it effects you as an agent. If you have any specific questions or concerns on what is being posted, please send it to:

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We will do our best to get your questions answered.

Compliance Hotline!

For possible violations of Fraud, Waste, and Abuse, or violations of HIPAA can be reported to AHIA's Special Investigations Unit at:

(210) 272-9210

PPACA OEP is underway!... (11/01/16)

PPACA OEP is underway. There was a new requirement that was introduced during FFM training. The Individual Marketplace and SHOP Privacy & Security Agreements require all agents and brokers to ensure openness and transparency about policies, procedures, and technologies that directly affect consumers’ PII. AHIA, LLC has drafted a Privacy Notice Statement for you to use.

As a reminder PII is any information that can be used to distinguish or trace a consumer’s identity (e.g., his or her name, Social Security Number, biometric records) alone or when combined with other personal or identifying information that is linked or linkable to a specific consumer (e.g., date of birth, place of birth, mother’s maiden name).

Click here to download and view Affordable Care Act Privacy Notice Statement



ACA SECTION 1557 REGULATION... (10/06/16)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/Office of Civil Rights issued a Final Rule implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new regulations prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs and activities. The law establishes new protections and applies to any health programs funded by HHS, including Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, and the Marketplace. The law strictly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, pregnancy, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery therefrom, childbirth or related medical conditions, sex stereotyping and gender identity.

Each carrier has instituted their own requirements and are part of the carrier training/communications. I have provided the United HealthCare agent communication and link as an example. Please make sure to check with the carriers that you contract with in order to stay compliant.

Click here to download and view UnitedHealthcare new Requirement 10.

Dear Valued Business Partners,

We are reaching out to you today regarding new requirements mandated by UnitedHealthcare (UHC) relating to: Informal Sales Events, Formal Sales Events, Scope of Appointments, and Business Reply Cards.

New Required Disclaimer For Display at UHC - only Sales Meetings

Effective immediately, a new disclaimer (see attached pdf file) must be displayed at any UnitedHealthcare-exclusive formal or informal marketing/sales event (e.g., community meeting / kiosk). Please print the attached pdf and display at your UHC-only sales meetings until the new tabletop displays are ready.

NOTE: This disclaimer requirement only applies to sales events where UnitedHealthcare is the only carrier being presented. If you are presenting multiple carriers at your sales events, this disclaimer requirement does not apply to those events.

UnitedHealthcare will provide tabletop displays of this new disclaimer in the near future via the UHC Agent Toolkit path detailed below. Once you receive the tabletop, please use the tabletop instead of pdf printout.

New UHC Scope of Appointment and Business Reply Cards

UnitedHealthcare has also updated their Scope of Appointment (SOA) and Business Reply Cards (BRCs). Updated versions of SOA’s and BRC’s were scheduled to be available on the Agent Toolkit by the end of the day Friday, September 30. Please begin using these new SOA’s and BRC’s for all UHC sales efforts as soon as possible.

To access the Agent Toolkit, use the login information provided previously by UHC and use the following path:

Agent Toolkit Path

English Material > Community Meeting and Event Marketing Materials > Presentations and Workbooks > Workbooks

If you have any questions, please contact the Producer Help Desk at phd@uhc.com. If you have compliance questions, please email compliance_questions@uhc.com and be sure to include your full name, contact information and writing number. More information

Sincerely,

Golden Outlook Agent Engagement Team



Pre-AEP Do's and Dont's... (10/04/16)

The Annual Election Period is soon to begin. This is a great time to help current clients and prospects make sure that their needs are met for the following benefit year. This is also a time of year when you as an agent must be aware and proficient in balancing the knowledge and use of current year and upcoming year regulations and benefits.

Although much of what is in this article is common knowledge, it is important to review and have as a reference just in case there is a question. The following is from the Medicare Advantage Enrollment and Disenrollment Manual. I have included the whole regulation; much of what is written is for carriers. Please keep in mind that carriers may have more restrictive regulations than what Medicare requires. It is important that you are aware of what each one of the carriers that you represent requires of you. Carriers will not accept paper applications from agents during Pre AEP and the submission of an AEP application will result in an investigation. It is very important to remember that if beneficiaries that have an IEP or SEP can be submitted as normal.

Special Rule for the Annual Election Period (AEP):

Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations may not solicit submission of paper enrollment forms or accept telephone or on-line enrollment requests prior to the beginning of the AEP. Brokers and agents under contract to MA organizations may not accept or solicit submission of paper enrollment forms prior to the start of the AEP. MA organizations and their brokers and agents also should remind beneficiaries that they cannot submit enrollment requests prior to the start of the AEP. Despite these efforts, CMS recognizes that MA organizations may receive unsolicited paper enrollment forms prior to the start of the AEP, given that marketing activities may begin prior to this date. To be considered unsolicited, the MA organization must have received the paper AEP enrollment request directly from the applicant and not through a sales agent or broker. Other enrollment request mechanisms may not be accepted prior to the actual start of the AEP. Paper AEP enrollment requests received prior to the start of the AEP for which there is indication of sales agent or broker involvement in the submission of the request (i.e., the name or contact information of a sales agent or broker) must be investigated by the organization for compliance with the requirements in the Medicare Marketing Guidelines. If an MA organization receives unsolicited paper enrollment forms on or after October 1st but prior to the start of the AEP, it must retain and process them as follows:

  • Within 7 calendar days of the receipt of a paper enrollment request, the MA organization must provide the beneficiary with a written notice that acknowledges receipt of the complete enrollment request, and indicates that the enrollment will take effect on January 1 of the following year (refer to Exhibits 4, 4a, 4b and 4c for model notices).
  • For AEP enrollment requests received prior to the start of the AEP, the MA organization must submit all transactions to CMS systems (MARx) on the first day of the AEP with an “application date” of the same date. For example, unsolicited AEP paper enrollment requests received October 1 through October 14 must be submitted on October 15th with an “application date” of October 15th of the current year in the appropriate data field on the enrollment transaction. If a beneficiary has submitted more than one AEP paper enrollment request prior to the start of the AEP, the beneficiary will be enrolled in a plan based on the first application that is processed.
  • Once the MA organization receives a MARx TRR from CMS indicating whether the individual’s enrollment has been accepted or rejected, it must meet the remainder of the requirements (e.g., sending a notice of the acceptance or rejection of the enrollment within 10 calendar days following receipt of the TRR from CMS) provided in §40.4.2. Note: If organizations receive incomplete unsolicited AEP paper enrollment requests prior to the start of the AEP, they must follow existing guidance for working with beneficiaries to complete the applications (refer to §40.2.2). Again, this policy applies only to the receipt of unsolicited paper enrollment forms prior to the beginning of the AEP. To help ensure a successful AEP season, it is imperative that organizations follow these steps and submit valid enrollment transactions promptly as directed.



AHIP Certification... (8/15/16)

It is that time again. The AHIP certification is in full swing. AHIP has combined the Marketing Medicare Advantage, Compliance and Fraud, Waste and Abuse requirements into a single modular course. The comprehensive online program gives you the background to make informed decisions on Medicare, including plan options, marketing, enrollment requirements, and FWA guidelines. The courses cover the following:

Fraud Waste Abuse

Medicare

The basics of Medicare fee-for-service eligibility and benefits.
The different types of Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans
Eligibility and coverage
Marketing and enrollment under the Medicare Advantage and Part D program requirements

Fraud, Waste & Abuse (FWA)

How to identify FWA
An overview of the industry efforts in detecting fraud
Legal tools to combat FWA
Understand both the human and financial cost of FWA
Review CMS FWA training requirements
Who commits FWA
Reporting FWA; loopholes and obligations

There is a cost for the AHIP and some carriers are offering discounts for the AHIP certification. We have done the research and the carriers are listed below with the discount or reimbursement that is offered.

  • Aetna $50.00 Discount
  • BC/BS $50.00 Discount
  • Cigna $125.00 Reimbursement
  • Humana $50.00 Discount
  • UHC $50.00 Discount
  • Wellcare $50.00 Discount

  • Remember that most carriers require you to access AHIP through their online portal or hyperlink. Carriers will also have their carrier/product specific training that you must complete.

    Don’t miss out… get your certification done so that you can take advantage of the selling season.



    Customer PHI Data Breach... (7/04/16)

    What happens if you are responsible for the unauthorized dissemination of a customer's PHI? You may be subject to penalties imposed by federal law up to $1Million per incident. Here are a few DO's and DON'Ts regarding sensitive member or consumer information:

    health
    Handling sensitive member or consumer information

    DO's

  • Double check the email address, fax number, etc. to ensure the intended recipient receives the document
  • Schedule a meeting in a more non-public area, such as their home or your private office space
  • Report if your laptop (encrypted or unencrypted) has been lost or stolen
  • Ensure your laptop, hard copy documents and/or other electronic devices are with you at all times
  • Shred documents containing PHI
  • Carry the necessary documents needed in a locked briefcase or folder

  • DON'Ts

  • Send an email, fax or hard copy document containing information to someone other than the intended recipient
  • Discuss information in public settings, such as in a restaurant or an elevator
  • Assume that your lost or stolen laptop is not considered to be unauthorized/inappropriate disclosure
  • Leave your laptop, hard copy documents and/or other electronic devices in your car
  • Throw away hard copy documents in the trash
  • Expose documents in an open common area, such as the front or backseat of the car



  • Informing Consumers About Health Appeals... (5/24/16)

    The Affordable Care Act ensures a consumer’s right to appeal health insurance plan decisions, including asking that an issuer reconsider its decision to deny payment for a service or treatment, or to rescind coverage.

    health

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a new resource that describes:

  • What issuer decisions can be appealed
  • How long consumers have to initiate appeals
  • How consumers must document and submit appeals
  • How consumers can request an expedited appeal timeline in urgent care situations
  • When and how to request an external review by state or federal authorities

  • These appeal rights and processes apply to consumers enrolled in non-grandfathered qualified health plans through a Health Insurance Marketplace.

    Please see the “Internal Claims and Appeals and External Review Processes Overview” resource slides for more information. You can also link to these slides from the Agents and Brokers Resources webpage, which provides other resources to help you assist consumers in making use of their health coverage.




    Medicare Lock-In News (3/15/16)

    During this time of Lock In, it can be difficult to focus on Medicare Beneficiaries as prospects. It is important to have all the facts in order to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.

    lock

    Please review the following to make sure that you have the latest information:

    For income levels, see the 2016 federal poverty level guidelines at:
    Poverty Guidelines

    See the Medicaid.gov webpage that details the 2016 Dual Eligible Standards for the Medicare Savings Programs, available at:
    2016 Dual Eligible Standards for the Medicare Savings Programs

    See the Medicare.gov webpage that details Medicare costs in 2016, available at: Medicare Cost At A Glance

    See the Programs and Operations Manual System (POMS) from Social Security for the LIS/Extra Help (and therefore, the MSP resource levels) asset levels for 2016.




    Alignment of License Expiration Dates (3/1/16):

    When was the last time that you checked your license expiration date?
    You might be in for a surprise.

    expired

    One agent was set to have his license expire the middle of April 2016. After checking the tdi.texas.gov website, he found that his license expiration was extended and would not expire until almost a year later. You may be in for a pleasant surprise as well.

    This is all due to recent 84th Legislative Session Licensing Updates ( SB876) that are designed to align license expiration dates. The following is from the TDI website.

    To assist license holders with maintaining their licenses and simplify the license renewal process, SB 876 required TDI to align all individual and entity licenses as follows:

  • 1. The expiration date for individual licensees that hold only one license will be extended to the individual’s next birthday after the licenses current expiration date.

  • 2. The expiration date for individual licensees that hold more than one license will be extended to the individual’s next birthday after the latest expiration date of any existing license held.

  • 3. For entities that hold only one license, there will be no change in the expiration date of the license.

  • 4. For entities that hold more than one license, the license expiration date for all licenses held will be extended to the latest expiration date of any existing license held.

  • The alignment of license expiration dates to an individual licensee’s birth month and birth day, without a pending renewal, has been implemented for licenses expiring on or after January 1, 2016. No additional continuing education hours will be required for any extended periods provided, as part of the implementation of the alignment.

    The expiration date of any renewals pending on January 14, 2016, will be aligned as they renew. Going forward, any new license issued to a license holder will have an initial period that aligns its expiration date to the same expiration date of licenses already held.

    TDI will not be providing updated copies of existing licenses reflecting the new expiration dates. The new license expiration dates may be viewed as early as January 19, 2016 at: TDI Insurance Licensing Search and Renewal.




    OEP is almost done... (1/14/16)

    OEP is almost done... and now is the time to start preparing for potential opportunities outside of the OEP. Take some time to review these life events that can extend your selling season.

    oep

    Common Special Enrollment Periods (SEP) Enrollment Windows

    Not all special enrollment periods are the same length. Some life events trigger a special enrollment period, some trigger a hardship exemption, some trigger shorter periods with no exemption, and some only trigger the ability to purchase outside of open enrollment. Below are common qualifying life events and enrollment windows. See full lists of qualifying events below.

    NOTE: You can apply early to ensure your coverage starts on the day you would lose coverage. Even though you can enroll before the Special Enrollment window, your coverage won’t start until the day of the event or denial.

  • Losing other health coverage. From 60 days before to 60 days after losing your other coverage

  • Being Denied Medicaid or CHIP. Up to 60 days after the denial.

  • Getting Married. Up to 60 days after the event.

  • Having a baby, adopting a child, or placing a child for adoption. Up to 60 days after the event.

  • Having a change in income or household status that affects eligibility for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions (if already enrolled in coverage). Only triggers special enrollment if it’s not open enrollment. Up to 60 days after the event.

  • Moving, gaining citizenship, leaving incarceration. Only triggers special enrollment if it’s not open enrollment. Up to 60 days after the event.

  • Employer special enrollment. Employer special enrollment periods typically last 30 days. If moving from a Marketplace plan, make sure to avoid gaps in coverage or overlapping coverage.

  • Hardship Exemptions and Enrolling in the Marketplace. Most hardship exemptions and even the act of simply enrolling in the Health Insurance Marketplace trigger a 60 day special enrollment window. Even more incentive to sign up during open enrollment or apply for a hardship exemption, even if you don’t have time to enroll properly.
  • While not a hardship exemption, it’s worth noting that you are allowed a coverage gap of less than 3 months each year. That covers two full months. For any other month, you’ll need to have coverage for at least one day of the month to avoid the fee unless you qualify for an additional exemption. When you qualify for special enrollment, you may qualify for additional exemptions that extend the time you can go without coverage.

    The following life events will generally qualify you for a special enrollment period:

    You signed up for the marketplace, but you were unable to complete the enrollment process for any reason (until mid-April 2014)
  • Getting married

  • Birth, adoption, or placement of a child

  • Permanently moving to a new area that offers different health plan options

  • Losing other health coverage (including job loss for any reason, divorce, loss of eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP, expiration of COBRA coverage, aging of a parents plan, or a health plan being decertified). Note: loss of coverage does not include voluntarily quitting other health coverage or being terminated for not paying your premiums. Losing coverage that is not minimum essential coverage also fails to qualify as loss of coverage.

  • For people already enrolled in Marketplace coverage, having a change in income or household status that affects eligibility for tax credits or cost-sharing reductions

  • An individual who was not previously a citizen, national, or lawfully present individual gains such status.

  • A qualified individual’s enrollment or non-enrollment in a QHP is unintentional, inadvertent, or erroneous and is the result of the error, misrepresentation, or inaction of an officer, employee, or agent of the Exchange, HHS, or its instrumentalities as evaluated and determined by the Exchange.

  • An enrollee adequately demonstrates to the Exchange that the QHP in which he or she is enrolled substantially violated a material provision of its contract in relation to the enrollee.

  • An individual is determined to be newly eligible or newly ineligible for advance payments of the premium tax credit or has a change in eligibility for cost-sharing reductions, regardless of whether such individual is already enrolled in a QHP. The Exchange must permit individuals whose existing coverage through an eligible employer-sponsored plan will no longer be affordable or provide minimum value for his or her employer’s upcoming plan year to access this special enrollment period prior to the end of his or her coverage through such an eligible employer-sponsored plan.

  • An Indian, as defined by section 4 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, may enroll in a QHP or change from one QHP to another one time per month.

  • A qualified individual or enrollee demonstrates to the Exchange, in accordance with guidelines issued by HHS, that the individual meets other exceptional circumstances as the Exchange may provide.

  • Above information compiled from
    healthcare.gov and section 155.420 gpo.gov Federal Register.

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