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Feds still working on multistate plans

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The multi-state plan program — a little-publicized program that could give birth to a new breed of big, formidable health carriers — seems to be moving forward.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the agency in charge of regulating the MSPs, has not said much about the plans since it completed work on the regulations in March.

OPM and other agencies have not released the names of the carriers that have applied to participate in the MSP program. But White House officials suggested in May, in a vague memo, that MSPs could be operating in as many as 31 states next year.

Now OPM has put out a routine notice seeking comments on an external health coverage decision review program it’s developing for the MSPs.

OPM has developed a model form that MSPs would have to give enrollees after denying claims and rejecting internal appeals. 

An MSP is supposed to be a health plan that could operate in more than one state, under OPM supervision rather than under the jurisdiction of a state insurance regulator. 

PPACA drafters added the MSP provision in an effort to increase the level of competition in the health insurance market, and to respond to business groups and others that wanted Congress to open the health market to association health plans.

Association health plan supporters said the plans could offer individuals and small groups the same low administrative costs and flexibility that large, multi-state employers now get from self-insured health plans.

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