Posts Tagged - ‘states’

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Will States Be Able To Implement Health Insurance Plan Reform?

Monday, August 16th, 2010

health insurance plan reform

Image: tomcensani under CC 3.0

Although healthcare reform will result in more federal involvement in regulations, the majority of the responsibility for regulating health coverage will still rest with the states.

However, it seems that many state insurance commissioners don’t have the power to do some of the things the Obama administration wants them to. Almost half of the states claim that they don’t have the legal authority to review health insurance plan rate increases, for example.

What are they doing to make sure that they can effectively enforce some of the consumer protection provisions that begin next month? States such as Florida and Texas have little recourse, except for gently encouraging health insurers to modify their contracts in order to comply with federal law. Regulators are planning on new state laws being passed in the next year, or using general laws against deceptive trade practices. It remains to be seen if these tactics will be successful. If they are unable to take the lead, the national government will step in–an unpalatable alternative to many.

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Will Jobs Bill Give States More Healthcare Reform Funding?

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Image: joshuaoffmanphoto under CC 3.0

Many states are hoping that the jobs bill currently pending in Congress will include increased funding for implementing healthcare reform.

The legislation requires them to expand eligibility for Medicaid among one of its strategies for expanding access to affordable health insurance. However, the recession has made states cash-strapped and unable to afford it.

As a result, they are seeking to extend the increased federal subsidies provided to them in last year’s stimulus package. They have already budgeted for the six-month extension during the next fiscal year, although its passage certainly isn’t guaranteed.

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Some Health Insurance Reform Provisions Already Late

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Image: manwithface under CC 3.0

Although affordable health insurance reform legislation was only passed last month, some provisions have already been delayed longer than expected.

Why? Since the law was passed through the budget reconciliation process–which allows no actual editing of the bill–the dates listed in the bill still stand. For example, the bill includes a supplemental drug rebate. According to the bill, which was written last fall, the rebate was supposed to begin in January. Obviously that didn’t happen, because the bill didn’t end up becoming law until mid-March.

What happens now? Guidelines for the retroactive deadlines will be released soon. Federal and state governments will have to move fast to implement all of the elements of the law, including the upcoming health insurance plan mandate: the latter will become effective on January 1st, 2014. Each state must either have its own health insurance exchange active or take part in the national exchange by then.

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