HHS rules seek to make changes to exchanges and end insurance discrimination
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released new health insurance rules that aim to prohibit discrimination against those with poor health and help guarantee minimum benefits for citizens throughout the country. The HHS rules were revealed earlier this week by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The rules are accompanies with information that is being provided to states and insurance companies concerning the federal government’s plans to enact the Affordable Care Act.
Consumers to receive new protections through HHS rules
The new HHS rules lay out protections for consumers that will allow them to have access to wellness programs and other preventative care coverage from the nation’s myriad insurance companies. The rules also propose to provide families with modest discounts when acquiring health insurance coverage through state-based exchange programs. The HHS rules are open to public comment for the next 30 to 60 days before they are approved by the federal government.
States still wary of Affordable Care Act
Some states are expected to criticize the new rules because of their association with the Affordable Care Act and the provision of health insurance exchanges. According to federal law, all states are required to host a health insurance exchange, an online marketplace for affordable health insurance coverage. Initially, states had until November 16 to submit their plans concerning an exchange to the HHS, but the agency has pushed back this deadline to December 14. States are still required to have a fully operational exchange system in place by January 2014, and now these exchanges must comply with the new HHS rules.
Sebelius to meet with Governors in coming weeks
Many Governors have expressed concern over the lack of guidance concerning health insurance exchanges that the federal government has provided. Secretary Sebelius notes that she intends to meet with Governors in order to better understand their concerns and provide them with information they may need. Currently, the information that will be provided to these Governors has not been revealed.