The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) has issued a bulletin that could affect the ability of personal health account programs to continue to operate after Jan. 1, 2014.
Officials at CCIIO, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), say in the Actuarial Value and Cost-Sharing Reductions Bulletin that they plan to include employer health savings account (HSA) annual contributions and health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) contributions in actuarial value calculations, if the accounts are linked to high-deductible health plans (HDHPs).
CCIIO is thinking of leaving an individual’s contributions to an HDHP-linked HSA out the actuarial value calculations for that plan.
The CCIIO officials issued the bulletin to talk about the approach HHS might take when implementing Section 1302(d)(2) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA).
If PPACA takes effect as written and works as drafters expect, it will set up a new system of state-supervised health insurance distribution exchanges starting in 2014. Individuals and small groups are supposed to be able to use new federal tax subsidies to buy standardized coverage through the exchanges.
To help consumers compare plans on an apples-to-apples basis, the exchanges are supposed to classify the products in bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels, based on the percentage of the cost of a standard plan that a product covers.
Each product is supposed to cover at least 60% of the actuarial value of the essential health benefits package.
Sellers and users of HSA and HRA programs have complained that the actuarial value approach could shut HRA and HSA programs out, because the health accounts themselves are supposed to cover a high percentage of the holders’ costs.