More Waivers Issued For Insurance Plans
Obama administration officials released new information on the number of businesses and other organizations that have received waivers on their insurance plans. Meanwhile, Republicans criticize the law's high risk pools.
The Hill: List Of Health Care Reform Waivers Keeps Growing
The number of waivers the Obama administration has awarded for a provision of the year-old health care reform law grew by 128 in March. With the new waivers, that means 1,168 businesses, insurers, unions and other organizations have received one-year exemptions from a health care reform provision requiring at least $750,000 in annual benefits. The administration says the temporary waivers are granted to help stabilize the insurance market until a fuller package of reforms takes effect in 2014, but the growing number of waivers have exposed the White House to heavy criticism from Republican opponents of the law (Millman, 4/2).
Modern Healthcare: Mini-Med Waivers Rise In March
Last year's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act prohibits plans from imposing annual dollar limits on benefits beginning in 2014. Until then, insurers can phase out the use of annual limits, and HHS regulations last June said plans may not limit coverage for benefits to less than $750,000 from September 2010 until September 2011. This generally applies to limited-benefit, or so-called mini-med plans. ... This issue has been a controversial one on Capitol Hill, as Republicans have questioned the fairness of the waiver process, and suggested it is proof that the health reform law is flawed (Zigmond, 4/3).
Kaiser Health News: ACOs Spell Gold Rush For Health Care Consultants
For months, said Washington health-care attorney Rene Quashie, his phone has been "ringing off the hook," with hospital and doctor clients wanting advice on how to reorganize themselves to get new Medicare bonuses under the health-care law. Handling such questions, said Quashie, an associate with the firm Drinker Biddle & Reath, is sure to be "a growth area" for his firm. And a lucrative one (Vaida, 4/2).
CQ HealthBeat: Republicans: Federal High-Risk Pools A Failure So Far
Republicans on Friday criticized the health law program that provides insurance access for people with pre-existing conditions through new high risk pools, saying the initiative is duplicative, poorly structured and wasteful. About 12,000 people are getting coverage through the temporary high-risk pools, which are scheduled to end when the new health insurance exchanges open in 2014 under the law (PL 111-42, PL 111-58). Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations noted at a hearing Friday that when the overhaul passed, experts estimated that a far higher number - about 375,000 people - might sign up for the pools during the first year because millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions have had a difficult time finding affordable coverage. Those estimates assumed that over time interest would grow as more people found out about the program (Adams, 4/1).