The Supreme Court upheld the 2010 health care overhaul law on June 28th, 2012 which caused shares of hospital operators to jump. The court ruled the health care law constitutional by a 5 to 4 majority. The vote includes a provision that requires most people to have health insurance or pay a fine for not having insurance. The law is be expected to help hospitals see more patients and more bills will be covered by insurance companies.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed by President Obama in March 2010, but not without a lot of intense debate. The law will allow parents to keep their children on their insurance policies until the child turns 26 and prohibits insurers from dropping members from plans who have become ill. The law also prohibits insurers from excluding children under the ages of 19 who have had pre-existing health conditions, requires insurers to spend a certain percentage of their “premium dollars” on medical care and it also authorizes the Food and Drug Administration to approve generic versions of biotech drugs. The push for more generic versions of biotech drugs is to drive down the rising costs of pharmaceutical drugs to consumers.
Health insurers won’t be able to exclude people with pre-existing health problems or make them pay higher premiums and consumers will be able to buy health insurance through exchanges by 2014. Parts of the health care law are being phased in.
After news of the health care law being upheld, hospital stocks rose. HCA Holdings Inc., the biggest hospital chain, rose $1.89 to $28.50, or 7.1%. Many other hospital chains also saw rises in their stocks because of the health care law. Part of the reason these stocks are rising is because hospitals will see more patients and insurers will pay the hospitals for fees. With more patients in the hospitals, there will be more fees for the hospitals to collect from the insurers.
Since many of the mandates don’t start until 2014 and when they do, most Americans will be required to carry insurance or pay the penalty. The penalty will start at $95 a year or up to 1% of a person’s income, whichever is greater.
The increased number of insured people also means that the number of patient records will also increase. Healthcare organizations will also need to stay compliant with HIPAA security standards which states that organizations need to implement layered security to prevent unauthorized access to patient records. Since many healthcare organizations have electronic health records for their patients, they need to protect them in a secure way.
An effective way for healthcare organizations to protect their electronic healthcare records is to incorporate a two factor authentication solution using one time passwords. This solution is effective, cost efficient and is a layered security solution. The most effective form of two factor authentication using one time passwords is using a login, as one factor, and a one-time password sent to a mobile phone, as the second factor. The reason this form of two factor authentication is so effective is because it uses an out-of-band authentication method to authentic users. This means that a separate channel is used to authenticate a user from the main channel.
For example, a doctor trying to access a patient record can use his login and password on a computer login screen as one form of authentication and also receive a one-time password sent to his mobile phone as a second factor of authenticating him. The mobile phone is the out-of-band authentication channel because the password isn’t being sent from the computer, but rather from a separate server which sends it to the mobile phone. It’s effective because if a hacker were to steal this doctor’s username and password, they still wouldn’t be able to login because they wouldn’t have the mobile phone which receives the one time password. It’s cost efficient because there is no more hardware to deploy or software to install.