Proposed Rule Would Cut Red Tape

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a proposed rule that would establish a unique health plan identifier under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The proposed rule would provide a unique identifier of a standard length and format to facilitate routine use in computer systems. This will allow provider offices to automate and simplify their processes, particularly when processing bills and other transactions.

The proposed changes would save health care providers and health plans up to $4.6 billion over the next 10 years, according to estimates by the HHS. The estimates were included in a proposed rule that cuts red tape and simplifies administrative processes for doctors, hospitals and health insurance plans. These codes, known as the “International Classification of Diseases” will include new procedures and diagnoses.

The proposed rule also delays required compliance by one year for new codes used to classify diseases and health problems – from Oct. 1, 2013, to Oct. 1, 2014. Many provider groups have expressed serious concerns about their ability to meet the Oct. 1, 2013, compliance date. The proposed change in the compliance date for ICD-10 would give providers and other covered entities more time to prepare and fully test their systems to ensure a smooth and coordinated transition to these new code sets. The proposed rule announced is the third in a series of administrative simplification rules in the new health care law. More information on the proposed rule is available on fact sheets athttp://www.cms.gov/apps/media/fact_sheets.asp.

Last Updated 7/11/2017

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