Leading Iowa Insurer Undecided About State’s Planned Insurance Exchange
In other health law implementation news, Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, that HHS has not adequately addressed the needs of small insurance companies and other small businesses.
The Associated Press/Houston Chronicle: Big Iowa Health Insurer Unsure About Exchange
A leading Iowa health insurer isn't sure yet whether it will participate in the state's planned insurance exchange. The exchanges are expected to be a key part of the national health care overhaul. Some people would be required to use exchanges to qualify for coverage subsidies. John Forsyth is chairman of Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which provides three-quarters of policies to Iowa individual consumers and small businesses (8/31).
Des Moines Register: Wellmark Undecided On Insurance Exchange
Iowa's dominant health insurer is considering staying out of the state's planned insurance exchange, which could hamstring the initiative. Insurance exchanges are expected to be a key part of the national health reform program. Supporters say the computerized systems will help millions of individual consumers and small businesses across the country compare and buy affordable policies, starting in 2014. Moderate income Americans would be required to use exchanges to qualify for public subsidies for coverage. John Forsyth, chairman of Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield, said in an interview that the company hasn’t decided whether it would offer coverage through Iowa’s planned exchange. Wellmark provides three-quarters of policies to Iowa individual consumers and small businesses (Leys, 8/31).
The Hill: Ellmers: Reform Law May Hamper Small Insurers
The Health and Human Services Department hasn't adequately addressed the needs of small insurance companies — and small employers — as it implements the health care reform law, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) said in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Ellmers, chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee's health care subcommittee, said Health and Human Services (HHS) deserves credit for giving states significant flexibility over their health insurance exchanges. But regulations on the exchanges haven't answered key questions about small insurers, Ellmers said (Baker, 8/30).
Also in the news, the American Hospital Association sent a "sharply worded letter" to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Don Berwick charging that the agency is skirting the health law's directions regarding a provision designed to stem hospital-acquired infections.
Politico Pro: Hospitals Say CMS Is Skirting The ACA
The nation's largest hospital association says CMS has skirted a crucial requirement of the health care law by not giving providers a full year to test a new provision meant to stem hospital-acquired infections. In a sharply worded letter sent late Monday to CMS Administrator Don Berwick, the American Hospital Association said the agency "has not met its requirements with respect to certain measures" spelled out in the law, and warns that hospitals will be "unfairly and adversely" impacted (Dobias, 8/30).