Health Care Reform requires most self-funded and fully-insured group health plans to obtain a Health Plan Identifier (HPID). The HPID is a 10-digit number that will be used to identify the plan in covered electronic HIPAA transactions (for example,electronic communications between the plan and certain third parties regarding health care claims, health plan premium payments, or health care electronic fund transfers).
Large health plans (plans with annual receipts in excess of $5 million) must obtain an HPID by November 5, 2014. Small health plans have until November 5, 2015 to comply. “Receipts” for this purpose appear to be claims paid.
Who is Responsible? For self-funded plans, the plan sponsor is responsible for obtaining an HPID (third-party administrators cannot obtain an HPID on behalf of a self-funded plan sponsor). Although it appears that most insurers will obtain the HPID on behalf of fully-insured plans, some insurers are requiring the plan sponsor to obtain an HPID.
Application Process. To sign up for an HPID, plan sponsors must first be registered within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Health Insurance Oversight System (HIOS) .
The individual responsible for applying will need to sign up as an individual and request to be linked to the relevant company. The individual will then complete the requested information (including company name, address, and EIN, authorizing official information, and the plan’s “Payer ID” number or “NAIC” number).
Some self-funded plan sponsors have reported difficulty with the registration process because self-funded plans do not have a Payer ID or NAIC number. Although CMS has not yet released any formal guidance on this issue, it is expected that self-funded plans will enter “not applicable” for the Payer ID and either leave the NAIC number blank or use the plan sponsor’s EIN in lieu of the NAIC number.
Once the required information has been submitted, an authorized individual within the company must request access to the HIOS. CMS will then grant access to the HIOS system by electronically sending an authorization code to the authorized individual.
Next Steps. The registration process can be time consuming as there are a number of different registration screens to work through, the collection of the required data may be cumbersome, and delays have been reported within the CMS registration portal. Accordingly, plan sponsors of large self-funded group health plans may wish to begin the registration process as soon as possible in order to meet the November 5, 2014 deadline. Plan sponsors for fully-insured plans should contact the plan’s insurer to see if the insurer will apply for the HPID on behalf of the plan.