WASHINGTON BUREAU — Employers that want to keep their current health plans as Affordable Care Act rules take effect might have to refrain from switching insurers, tightening annual benefits limits, or increasing deductibles and co-payments by more than 15% plus the rate of medical inflation.
The U.S. Treasury Department, the U.S. Labor Department and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have described the requirements for “grandfathered health plans” in a draft of interim final rules developed to implement ACA provisions that affect group health plans.
ACA is the legislative package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.
The Office of the Federal Register has posted a draft of the interim final regulations on its website and expects to publish the final version of the interim final rules Thursday. Agencies occasionally change Federal Register documents between the time they are posted on the OFR site and the time they appear in print.
Comments on the interim rules will be due 60 days after the Federal Register publication date.
Grandfathered plans will be able to avoid many of the changes that ACA will impose on other group health plans, officials say.
But the interim final rules would bar a plan from being grandfathered if the plan failed to comply with some of the new ACA mandates, such as requirements that plans provide free coverage for preventive care and guaranteed renewability of coverage.