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What health insurance regulators might do next

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State insurance regulators may be paying more attention to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Regulatory Framework Task Force, an arm of the Kansas City, Missouri-based National Association of Insurance Commissioners, may add a provision that translates as “watching the Labor Department” to its official job description.

The task force is including the reference to the Labor Department in a proposal for updating its charges, or list of things to do.

The task force says it intends to “monitor, facilitate and coordinate with the states and DOL regarding compliance and enforcement efforts” regarding Affordable Care Act matters that related to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, according to a copy of the proposed revision posted on the panel’s section of the NAIC website.

The task force also wants to work with the states and Labor Department on matters related to fake health plans.

The NAIC is a group for state insurance regulators. It can’t set state insurance rules itself, but many states base their laws and regulations on NAIC models. In some cases, states set certain types of rules, such as financial filing form requirements, to change automatically when NAIC standards change.

The Obama administration has had the Employee Benefits Security Administration, a division of the Labor Department, work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Internal Revenue Service on many ACA implementation and administration projects.

Recently, Labor Department officials have announced a major effort to audit group health plans for compliance with federal mental health benefits parity rules and other federal health benefits rules.

Related: 5 new parity traps that could ruin your benefits clients

Labor Department officials are also thinking of requiring all sponsors of group health plans, including very small employers, to send it information about the plans on a new Schedule J form, which would be part of the Form 5500 benefit plan annual return packet.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court prompted Labor Department officials to consider adding the group health reporting requirements by ruling that the Labor Department, not state insurance regulators, should manage any efforts to collect claim data from group health plans. 


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