Employers and plans that want new relief from the federal annual benefits limit rules will have to submit their applications by Sept. 22, 2011, officials say.
The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that handles the annual benefit limit waiver applications, wants to wind down the program, CCIIO Director Steve Larsen said today during a press conference.
Employers or plans that already have waivers can apply to extend the waivers to 2013, Larsen said.
The CCIIO is also adding new disclosure rules for waiver users. Waiver users must, for example, show enrollees how the amount of any hospitalization benefit the plan provides compares the actual cost of a typical hospitalization, Larsen said.
The CCIIO created the program using bulletins, and it also will implement the new rules by issuing bulletins, Larsen said.
“Often the Only Option”
The annual benefits limit requirements are part of 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 are set to increase twice before 2014, and all annual benefits are supposed to go away in 2014.