Federal regulators should give states and health insurers enough flexibility to keep new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) rules from pushing up costs or disrupting the market in other ways, health insurers say.
Daniel Durham and Gregory Gierer, executives at the health insurers’ biggest trade group, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), have made that case in a collection of comments made in response to PPACA regulatory proposals and notices recently issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
HHS released a series of major documents, such as draft PPACA health insurance market rule and rate review regulations, in November, and in some cases gave commenters just 30 days to respond.
PPACA calls for HHS and other federal and state agencies to set up a national health exchange system by Oct. 1, and to implement many national health insurance rules, such as new restrictions on use of personal health information in insurance underwriting, by Jan. 1, 2014.
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PPACA also calls for non-grandfathered major medical plans to offer a standardized “essential health benefits” (EHB) package, and for regulators to set up risk-adjustment programs to keep the PPACA changes from causing consumers with expensive health problems to capsize certain health plans, or certain types of plans.
“We are aware that [HHS] is operating within tight timeframes to finalize these regulations,” the AHIP executives wrote in one AHIP comment letter, on an HHS “benefit and payment parameters” notice.
AHIP expects to continue to work with HHS officials as they go about preparing for 2014, the AHIP executives said.
In the comment letter on the benefit and payment parameters notice, the AHIP executives urged HHS officials to carefully consider how the proposed regulations might interact with statutory provisions to add to the cost of coverage.
“For example, the new $100 billion health insurance tax will add $5,080 over ten years to the cost of a family’s premium in the individual market,” the AHIP executives said.
The EHB package requirement may make coverage more comprehensive for some, but it also could increase the cost of coverage for many, the executives said.