The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has completed a final version of regulations for a new Multi-State Plan Program (RIN: 3206-AM47) that is supposed to give consumers access to health plans that are similar to the plans federal employees use.
The final multi-state plan (MSP) rule is set to appear in the Federal Register March 11. The final version is based on a draft that OPM published in the Federal Register in December 2012.
The MSP section in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) — Section 1334 — is supposed to create a new type of health plan that can operate in multiple states in a fashion similar to the way the Federal Employees Health Benefits program plans operate.
Each of the new PPACA health insurance exchanges is supposed to try offer consumers access to at least one for-profit MSP and one nonprofit MSP.
OPM published an MSP program application for insurers interested in participating in the program Jan. 18. The applications are due March 29.
Some state regulators and consumer advocates have suggested that the MSP program could give insurers the freedom to ignore important consumer protection rules. Insurers and employer groups, in turn, have warned that the MSPs could end up facing just as much state red tape as regional and national health insurers face today.
Officials at OPM, the agency that runs the federal employees’ benefit program, said in the preamble to the final rule that they want insurers in the MSP program to respect state consumer protection laws, including any state policy form review laws.
But officials said they believe the drafters of PPACA gave OPM the authority to resolve any conflicts between state rules and federal MSP program rules.