I think that this is about when a flood of stories about whether various parties can or can’t meet various Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) implementation deadlines will start to swirling up the street.
One day, Jan. 1, 2014, seems really far away.
You blink an eye, and blooey, your cellar is full of lawsuits about messed up computer systems and the boiler stops working.
Some readers have noticed that, once in awhile, my articles are a bit disjointed. Perhaps even hastily proofread. As in, a typo every other paragraph. That’s partly because even covering PPACA developments enough that you have some idea what mammoth new documents are in the Federal Register takes a lot of rushing around.
One obvious sign that the flood of stories about looming and missed deadlines is coming is the lead I buried in an article that ran Jan. 25, Feds: Some “indemnity plans” come under PPACA.
The grim truth is that, on busy news days, I’m so rushed that, for production reasons, I sometimes have to give my editors a headline and lead before I’ve really finished work on a story. On Jan. 25, I looked at some new PPACA guidance from the Employee Benefits Security Administration and quickly found something interesting — even, in a grim, wonky, regulatory way, funny — about how EBSA is thinking about what is and is not an indemnity health insurance policy that’s exempt from PPACA.
Then, after I came up with the nice headline and lead about indemnity insurance, I found this bit of dry wit:
The Department of Labor has concluded that the [PPACA exchange existence] notice requirement… will not take effect on March 1, 2013 for several reasons. First, this notice should be coordinated with HHS’s educational efforts and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance on minimum value. Second, we are committed to a smooth implementation process including providing employers with sufficient time to comply and selecting an applicability date that ensures that employees receive the information at a meaningful time. The Department of Labor expects that the timing for distribution of notices will be the late summer or fall of 2013, which will coordinate with the open enrollment period for Exchanges.
In other words: The EBSA guidance writers were saying, “No way is anyone going to have exchange notice regulations ready by March. No. Way. Deal with it, bozos.”