The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has given policy watchers in the health insurance community 324 new pages of reading: a batch of proposed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) regulations that could affect the commercial health insurance market in 2016.
The draft regulations — the HHS Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2016 — would affect everything from how the PPACA “three R’s” risk-management programs work for all commercial health insurers, the user fees for insurers that sell coverage through the HHS-run PPACA exchanges, network adequacy rules, and how rate review programs will work.
Regulatory analysts may be finding gems in the text for months
HHS is set to post the draft in the Federal Register Wednesday, and comments will be due 30 days after the official publication date.
For a look at some of the interesting parts we found, read on.
1. Web brokers who sell qualified health plans (QHPs) for the HHS-run PPACA exchanges might have to provide access to oral interpretation services for 150 languages.
HHS officials say they were told telephonic oral translation services are readily available, but they said they are open to hearing about alternatives.
Officials said, for example, that it wants to hear what people think about “requiring written translations in the languages spoken by the applicable state’s top ten limited English proficiency (LEP) groups or spoken by 10,000 persons or greater, whichever yields the greater number of languages.”
Another approach could be requiring short statements, written in 30 languages, informing people about the existence of translation services.
See also: 3 reasons PPACA exchange call centers could freeze up
2. The 150-language translation requirement could take effect as early as 2016, but HHS would consider imposing it later.
Officials said any people or entities affected by translation requirements, including the Web brokers that could be affected by the 150-language translation service requirement, might be able to meet the requirement by referring consumers to the exchange call center.