Two Republican lawmakers are asking U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to give them more information about annual benefits limit requirement waivers.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the highest ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, and Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, have sent Sebelius a letter expressing concerns about what they say are inadequate waiver program disclosures.
HHS is phasing in restrictions on health plan annual benefits limits that were included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA). Starting with policy years beginning between Sept. 23, 2010, and Sept. 22, 2011, non-grandfathered health plans are supposed to have annual benefit caps of at least $750,000. The minimum annual benefits levels will increase twice before 2014. All annual benefits are supposed to go away in 2014.
Many limited-benefit plans have had waivers as low as $2,500.
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HHS created a benefits limit waiver program for the limited benefit plans, to keep PPACA from wiping out coverage for the temporary workers, part-time workers and low-wage workers who tend to have the plans.
HHS officials have granted 1,372 waivers, officials say. Larsen estimated during a hearing in February that the waiver program would preserve the health coverage of about 2.4 million of the 160 million U.S. residents who have private, employer-sponsored health coverage.