Insurance Commissioners worried that late issuance of regulations could harm implementation of Affordable Care Act
After years of criticism for not providing enough guidance in regards to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has begun issuing rules concerning the law at a rapid pace. These rules may help some states comply with the federal law in a more comprehensive manner, but their delayed issuance could also be creating some significant problems. Insurance Commissioners throughout the country have begun expressing concerns over the late release of rules, suggesting that such prominent delays could make it impossible for some states to comply with the deadlines established by the health care reform law.
Insurance Commissioners meet to address issues
Last week, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners met in Washington, D.C. to discuss concerns regarding the Department of Health and Human Services, the late issuance of rules, and the continued lack of guidance from the federal government concerning the Affordable Care Act. Though the federal agency has begun issuing rules to help states better understand how they should comply with the federal law, this guidance may be too little, too late for some, especially where health insurance exchanges are concerned.
Federal government releases regulations and guidelines after lengthy delays
All states are required to build health insurance exchanges — marketplaces where consumers can find affordable, yet comprehensive coverage. Late last week, the Department of Health and Human Services released some 373 pages worth of regulations and guidelines concerning the establishment of health insurance exchanges and other aspects of the overarching federal health care law. Many Insurance Commissioners have welcomes the regulations, but they have also showed concern that it may now be impossible for their representative states to meet with federal deadlines.
Guidance may be too little, too late
Currently, all states must have a fully functional health insurance exchange in place by 2014. States that cannot meet this deadline will lose control of their exchange programs to the federal government. Insurance Commissioners are somewhat wary of federal exchange programs because of the government’s inability to address the very specific needs of state markets. Though new regulations and guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services have been well received, they may have come too late for states that are eager to build their own exchange, unless the federal deadline can be pushed back.