The final rule of U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) on affordable insurance exchanges is expected out this month, with reports that it can be as soon as this week or by the end of the month.
The rule is expected to institutionalize how exchanges should implement outreach and education programs and comply with oversight and program integrity requirements. States have great flexibility in the design of exchanges, and in order to ensure a process that is simplified, streamlined, and standardized across the country, the rulemaking notice establishes standards for consumer protections for all exchanges, according to HHS.
It cannot be soon enough for regulators here who have said there is a lot of work ahead of them, and that they want clarity from HHS as soon as they can get it, for the sake of the states.
“Soon” was a watchword here at here at the Spring National Meeting in New Orleans with respect to hearing from the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on a number of matters of guidance or rules.
“I don’t think we are prepared for the tsunami that is headed our way,” said Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, the NAIC vice president and the commissioner leading the NAIC Plenary meeting Tuesday.
The Plenary is the body that includes all voting members of the NAIC.
Donelon was referring to a timeline given by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) in a private briefing to commissioners Friday night here. Exchanges are expected by HHS to be up and running by Jan. 1, 2014.