KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

HHS Approves New Round Of Waivers

The total number of health law waivers granted by the Department of Health and Human Services is now 1,472.

The Hill: HHS Grants 106 New Health Care Waivers
The Obama administration granted another 106 waivers last month from part of the health care reform law — the first round of three-year waivers the Health and Human Services Department has approved. The new approvals bring the total number of waivers to 1,472, according to HHS. Those figures cover waivers granted through the end of July. HHS will stop granting new waivers after September. Some health care plans, usually offered to low-wage workers, place caps on how much the policy will pay out in benefits over a year. The health care reform law gradually bans those limits, but allows HHS to grant waivers to companies that would be more likely to stop offering coverage altogether than to provide more robust coverage (Baker, 8/19).

CQ Health Beat: HHS Rolls Out A New Wave Of Waivers
New figures out Friday show that the Department of Health and Human Services last month approved additional waivers from annual benefit standards in the health care law for "mini-med" plans. The website for the HHS Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight said that as of the end of July, 1,472 one-year waivers and 106 three-year waivers have been approved. That means 3.4 million Americans now are enrolled in plans with annual limit waivers, or about two percent of all Americans with private health insurance. On Friday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also published supplemental guidance for Health Reimbursement Arrangements that exempts HRAs that are subject to the annual limits from having to apply individually for annual limit waivers (Norman, 8/19). 

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