On October 31, 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it would delay, until further notice, enforcement of the requirement to obtain (and use) Health Plan Identifier numbers (or HPIDs). According to the announcement, the enforcement delay applies to all entities covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), including healthcare providers, health insurance carriers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses.

As previously discussed in our October 22, 2014, Client Alert, HHS developed the HPID requirement to address supposed inefficiencies in HIPAA’s electronic transaction rules. The HHS regulations generally require health plans, including self-insured health plans, to apply for and obtain an HPID by November 5, 2014, or November 5, 2015, depending on their size. 

HHS announced the enforcement delay in response to a September 23, 2014, letter from the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS), an advisory body to HHS. Highlighting industry criticism of the HPID requirement, namely the perceived lack of value or benefit of the HPID, NCVHS recommended that the HPID not be used in HIPAA transactions. NCVHS further recommended that HHS clarify when and how the HIPD would be used in health plan compliance certification and whether the HPID would be used in the Health Insurance Marketplace.

We will continue to monitor the status of HPID enforcement and will provide updates as further information becomes available. For more information about health care reform or the HPID requirements, contact one of the authors of this alert or the Hogan Lovells lawyer with whom you work.