The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has 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 implement several administrative simplification provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The rule simplifies the administrative process for providers by proposing that health plans have 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. When made final, the effective date of this regulation would be October 1, 2012.
The proposed rule also delays required compliance by one year-from October 1, 2013, to October 1, 2014-for implementation of updated International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes to the tenth revision diagnosis and procedure codes (ICD-10).
The final rule adopting ICD-10 as a standard was published in January 2009, and set a compliance date of October 1, 2013-a two-year delay from the compliance date initially specified in the 2008 proposed rule. Entities covered under HIPAA will be required to use the ICD-10 diagnostic and procedure codes.