Insurance Commissioner Praeger urges action on health insurance benefits
Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger claims that the state must take decisive action on the health insurance benefits it will provide consumers per the Affordable Care Act. States have until October to inform the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) what the minimum benefits residents can receive through policies sold through health insurance exchanges. If states cannot meet the deadline, the HHS will determine the minimum level of benefits available to consumers, which may not be suitable for everyone.
State officials work to formulate plan on health insurance benefits
Commissioner Praeger met with Kansas health care officials this week to help formulate the minimum benefits consumers will be able to attain through the state’s health insurance exchange. During the meeting, Praeger highlighted the importance of the state taking the lead in building its own insurance plans so as to avoid unnecessary involvement from the federal government. Praeger is expected to submit recommendation concerning minimum benefits to Governor Sam Brownback before the end of the month.
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Federal law requires states to take action on health insurance exchanges
According to the Affordable Care Act, all states must build their own health insurance exchange. In Kansas, as well as other states, this exchange would serve as a marketplace for consumers to find affordable insurance policies. The policies sold through an exchange program would be separated by tiers that account for different levels of coverage. States have the opportunity to determine what the absolute minimum level of health insurance coverage consumers can obtain through the exchange program will be, even if those states do not have plans to establish their own health insurance exchanges.
Kansas has yet to make progress in developing insurance exchange program
Kansas has no yet determined its action on the issue of a health insurance exchange. Like others, the state appears to be waiting for more guidance from the federal government. The opportunity for states to establish the miminum level of health insurance benefits consumers can get through exchanges is part of the HHS’s plan to get state governments more involved in the process of establishing a comprehensive health insurance system and recently returned a federal grant that would have been used to help build the program.