KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

HHS Has Guidance On Annual Limits

The Hill's Healthwatch: The Department of Health and Human Services has issued guidance on how insurers can get waivers from health law-mandated restrictions on annual limits. "The new law creates temporary restrictions on health plans starting Sept. 23. But the law also allows the annual limits to be waived 'if compliance ... would result in a significant decrease in access to benefits or a significant increase in premiums.' The guidance, quietly issued Friday, applies only to plan years beginning between Sept. 23, 2010, and Sept. 22, 2011. The waiver is only valid for one year, and plans must reapply annually 'in accordance with future guidance from HHS.'" The restrictions on annual limits begin Sept. 23 and state that such a limit cannot be lower than $750,000 for the following year. Such restrictions on annual limits are raised each year until 2014, when annual limits can no longer be imposed by insurers (Pecquet, 9/7).

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