“WASHINGTON—Employers will be given until Jan. 1, 2012, to comply with certain health care reform law requirements, the Labor Department has decided.
One delay involves a reform provision in which health plan enrollees have to be notified of an urgent care coverage decision within 24 hours of receipt by the employer or plan administrator That is a big change from a decade-old Labor Department rule that requires such notifications be made within 72 hours.
In rules issued last July, federal regulators said the 24-hour notification requirement would go into effect Jan. 1, 2011. Then in technical guidance issued in September, the Labor Department said it was establishing an “enforcement grace period” running until July 1, 2011, in which no action would be taken against employers that were working in good faith to comply with the new standard by July 1. The latest Labor Department guidance issued last week extends that grace period to Jan. 1, 2012.
The same Jan. 1, 2012, grace period extension also applies to another new mandate, which requires that notices of available internal and external claims appeals and review processes be provided in a “culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.”
The Labor Department said the delay will enable it to take into account comments it has received on the regulations. It said it will amend those regulations, but gave no indication of what those changes will be.”