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Three landmark pieces of legislation have been enacted within the last forty years; ERISA, COBRA and HIPAA. Each one of these laws was created to foster development and improvement in the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States. The mainstays of these three pieces of legislation are to improve working conditions; to add advanced opportunities for profitable employment, protect employees, and to assure work related benefits and rights. What is ERISA? ERISA stands for Employee Retirement Income Security Act. ERISA regulates the establishment and implementation of discretionary benefits practices. Since its enactment in 1974, ERISA has been amended to meet the changing retirement and health care needs …show more content…
Beneficiaries are responsible for paying the insurance premium. Companies are permitted to charge COBRA beneficiaries a premium for continuation coverage of up to 102 percent of the cost of the coverage to the plan. HIPAA was enacted by Congress to address healthcare issues that individuals faced including changing coverage, portability of care, privacy and security rights, and to prevent fraud. The main purpose of the act was to provide patient privacy rights and prevent disclosure of patient information by requiring that individuals and businesses protect these individual rights. Those required to protect individual health information are all healthcare providers, health plan, and healthcare clearinghouses. The information that is considered to be patient health information (PHI) is any information including past, present, or future health conditions (mental and physical), demographic data, and any information that can be used to identify individuals associated with their health care plan. The key provisions of HIPPA are as follows: access to medical records, notice of privacy practices, limits on use of personal medical information, prohibition on marketing, stronger state laws, confidential communications, and complaints. Although the concept that a patient’s medical information should remain private has been accepted for many years, the new regulations have introduced a previously unseen level of