Health Industry Seeks To Shape Development of Insurance Exchanges
Insurers, physician groups, drug stores and other stakeholders in recent months have sent HHS thousands of comments in an effort to help shape regulations for the health insurance exchanges under the federal health reform law, the Washington Post reports.
Although the proposed regulations provide a blueprint for what the finalized rules for the new marketplaces would look like, they do not cover some of the key concerns that stakeholders have about the program, such as the framework for federally run exchanges and the essential benefits that must be covered by the plans, according to the Post.
Some groups, like America's Health Insurance Plans, have urged HHS to leave the rule-making process to the states, while others have reiterated the importance of making the exchanges accessible to specific populations. For example, the youth advocacy group Young Invincibles has urged the government to make the exchanges accessible through mobile platforms.
Meanwhile, several groups -- including the Center on Budget Policies and Priorities and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce -- have raised their concerns with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which will establish the exchanges using the federal regulations (Kliff, Washington Post, 11/5).
The deadline for comments to HHS is Monday, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
States Concerned About Being Pegged for Exchanges' Shortcomings
Officials from several states in their comments to HHS expressed concern about potential problems with the health insurance exchange program, adding that they could face the brunt of consumers' anger over issues such as affordability once the exchanges are implemented in 2014, "Healthwatch" reports.
State officials noted that the overhaul determines whether to provide subsidies to workers who do not have access to affordable health benefits through their employers. Because the subsidies are linked to the cost of coverage for a single employee, an individual would fail to qualify for those subsidies if the government determines that the coverage is affordable, according to "Healthwatch."
Officials with the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange wrote, "Such an outcome would undermine Maryland's goal of reducing the number of uninsured residents."
Meanwhile, Michigan officials said they should not have to be held accountable for hearing the appeals of consumers who have been denied the subsidies (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 11/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.