WASHINGTON BUREAU — President Obama today met with 35 state and territory insurance commissioners and talked about the role they will play in implementing the Affordable Care Act.
The regulators also met with U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Conversation focused on the provisions in the Affordable Care Act – the legislative package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) – that are set to take effect Thursday, or for policy or plan years that begin on or after Thursday.
Some of the provisions that are about to take effect include a ban on lifetime caps on health insurance benefits; a requirement that plans that offer dependent coverage offer coverage to dependents up to age 26; and a ban on plans or insurers refusing to provide coverage for minor children with pre-existing health conditions.
Obama entered midway through the meeting.
Jane Cline, the West Virginia insurance commissioner and president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Kansas City, Mo., said during a press conference after the meeting that Obama was “very clear that we [the NAIC] have an important role in this.”
“It clearly has got to be a partnership with the federal government,” Cline said.
Some state commissioners may lose their positions as a result of the November elections, but the institutional knowledge of the NAIC as a body will create the continuity needed to implement the reforms, NAIC officials said.
The Affordable Care Act calls for the NAIC to help implement new minimum medical loss ratio (MLR) provisions, which will require large plans to spend at least 85% of revenue on health care and quality improvement activities, and individual and small group plans and insurers to spend at least 80% of revenue on health care and quality improvement efforts.
Most of the minimum MLR provisions are set to take
effect on or after Jan. 1, 2014.