President Donald Trump’s version of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight is promising state health insurance regulators that it will try to be nicer to them than former President Barack Obama’s CCIIO was.
CCIIO is the unit at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services directly in charge of the Affordable Care Act rules and programs that affect commercial health insurance. The talked about some of the ways it will try to be easier on state regulators’ nerves late last week, in a new batch of guidance. The guidance came out around the same time as a major new set of final individual major medical insurance enrollment regulations for 2018.
CMS is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Senate has confirmed Dr. Tom Price as HHS secretary, and Seema Verma, a former Indiana health program builder, as CMS administrator. CCIIO still has an acting director, Jeff Wu, who has been held over from the days of the Obama administration.
CCIIO did not put any officials’ names on the new batch of guidance, but officials took pains to emphasize their interest in changing course.
“The agency is committed to returning to states their traditional authority to regulate health plans,” CCIIO says in the first sentence of the guidance. “We seek to ensure that policies empower states to make decisions that work best for their markets, understanding there are differences from state to state.”
The agency also talks about five specific areas in which its parent, CMS, will try to be more flexible.
Here’s a look at how CCIIO hopes to give state officials more room to maneuver, even if Congress is slow to change ACA rules.
1. CMS will trust HealthCare.gov states to certify exchange plans.
In the past, CMS let states handle some activities related to review of adequacy of the health plans offered through the HHS HealthCare.gov exchange enrollment and account administration system.
In the future, CMS will rely heavily on state plan certification reviews, and, even if a state has not agreed to cooperate with HealthCare.gov enough to have the official authority to review exchange plans, CMS will trust that state’s regulators to handle some review activities.
2. CMS will ask the states whether an issuer is licensed.
In the past, CMS looked into whether issuers were really licensed and in good standing.