Posts Tagged - ‘hhs’

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McDonalds, Other Businesses Exempt from Healthcare Reform Law

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Image: DRB62 under CC 3.0

There has been much concern surrounding healthcare reform’s impact on businesses. Many are worried that employers will drop their health insurance plans altogether, rather than complying with new requirements that increase the standard of care.

However, 30 companies and unions–McDonalds is the most popular–have received an exemption from that provision. The waiver must be renewed by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius each year until 2014. HHS made the judgment that rather than risking companies discontinuing seasonal and temporary workers’ health coverage entirely, it makes more sense to allow them to retain the inferior mini-med plans with extremely low annual limits of coverage. This will be the case for several years, until the health insurance exchanges are fully operational to give such employees more options.

Other firms are protesting this move, because small businesses will suffer while the big names with lobbying influence can get around the unfavorable provision.

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Will Student Health Insurance Survive?

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Image: swatjester under CC 3.0

The shape of health insurance plans is set to change due to healthcare reform. Health coverage for students is no different.

Colleges and universities all over the country are waiting with bated breath for new guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services. They want to ensure that their offerings meet the minimum standard for adequate coverage as “Bronze Plans”. If not, such plans are in danger of disappearing: students with employed parents can stay on their health insurance until age 26, while others can buy coverage through the newly-created health insurance exchange markets.

Student health insurance is often maligned for charging high rates for inferior coverage–especially nonsensical given the generally young and healthy population. Moreover, many campuses have their own mandates.

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Should Obama Use Executive Orders To Ban Health Insurance Plans From Increasing Rates?

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Image: The U.S. Army under CC 3.0

In preparation for healthcare reform regulations that will end up cutting into their profits, insurers are sharply increasing rates while they still can. While Department of Health and Human Services head Kathleen Sebelius has criticized their opportunism–which allegedly goes beyond the actual rise of health care costs–right now, her words have no teeth.

The increases are lowering already shaky public support for the law. What can the Obama administration do? A consumer watchdog group is recommending that the President issue an executive order to freeze health insurance plans‘ premiums until the rate review provisions go into effect in the next plan year.

According to the Supreme Court, presidents are allowed to do so. However, taking that course of action would be politically risky–many already believe that his administration is taking too much control over the health insurance industry.

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States Receive Grants To Implement Healthcare Reform

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010
affordable health insurance
Image: Aaron Esterling under CC 3.0

Affordable health insurance reform requires states to take the lead in regulating insurers. Many of them do not have the infrastructure or legal authority to do so. That is where $46 million in federal grants come in.

All but a handful of states, as well as the District of Columbia, will receive $1 million each for actions such as hiring actuaries to investigate rate increases and developing data systems for health insurance rate filings.

Which states are the holdouts? The following didn’t apply for the Department of Health and Human Services’ grant:

  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Alaska
  • Wyoming
  • Minnesota
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Sebelius: Health Insurance Reform Will Be Clear and Transparent

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

(Image: Scott Feldstein under CC 3.0)

In an attempt to reassure those worried about the recently passed health insurance reform legislation, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius claims that the reforms will be transparent and easy to understand.

Specifically, she pledged that her department would serve as a clearinghouse of information for confused consumers. The national and state regulators would be clear on the requirements, which is a tall order for a bill that is over 2,000 pages long.

Whether or not buying a health insurance plan actually becomes simpler under healthcare reform, we’re also here to help.

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