Healthcare, You, and Electronic Document Management


On June 28th, 2012 conservative Chief Justice John Roberts shocked The United States and the world by siding with the left-leaning bloc in a dramatic 5-4 Supreme Court ruling, allowing the constitutionality of Obamacare.  (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) This monumental ruling requires that all Americans obtain health insurance by 2014 or face a penalty, (called the individual mandate.)

Ruling the law unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause—the primary way government lawyers advocated that it should be allowed—Roberts saved the legislation by essentially allowing the law as a large tax. “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices,” wrote Roberts as the country for the first time faced the reality of paying penalty taxes unless they pay for a health insurance plan. Businesses are hardly enthusiastic about the decision and face stiff penalties for non-compliance with the employee insurance requirement.  “If a company with 50 or more employees provides no insurance to its employees or the insurance provided is substandard or too costly, there is an additional penalty to the company.  The penalty is stiff: $2,000 times the number of employees, with a 30-employee offset.” (Forbes)

Read this excellent article in Forbes for information on how Obamacare will affect your future taxes.

Obamacare is a worthy endeavor to provide healthcare to 30 million uninsured Americans, yet it is not without consequences. Obamacare has already affected America. The average employer-based premium for a family increased a startling 9% in 2011. That coming after 5% and 3% increases in 2009 and 2010. Unfortunately, there is no good news as “rates are expected to double in the next decade.” (Forbes) 26 states sued to overturn Obamacare. After the Supreme Court ruling, the governors of Texas and Louisiana issued statements that they will refuse to implement the law and called it a “socialist intrusion on the sovereignty of the state’s powers.” The governors of Florida, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Mississippi have made similar announcements. Yet, unless Gov. Romney wins the presidential election and Republicans win both chambers of congress, Obamacare will most likely become mandatory for all the states.

Regardless of where you stand in the healthcare debate, the majority supports some laws that regulate the health industry, such as privacy and security laws. Most significantly, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) (which was passed in 1996) requires protection for patient’s health information, in any form. It also gives consumers rights over their health information and sets rules and limits on who can look at and receive their information. The Security Rule, a Federal law that protects health information in the electronic form, requires entities covered by HIPAA to ensure that electronic protected health information is secure, just as written information is stored and disposed of properly.

Electronic Document Management (EDM) is an electronic type of Records management, “the practice of maintaining the records of an organization from the time they are created up to their eventual disposal. This may include classifying, storing, securing, and destruction (or archival preservation) of records.” These electronic systems simplify compliance with federal privacy laws. Implement an Electronic Document Management system for your business by contacting Tarheel Imaging and Microfilming to properly adhere to HIPAA and place all your important documents at your fingertips.