Tag Archives: Health Insurance

Congress Approves Bills to Bar Restrictions on Pharmacies Sharing Certain Drug Pricing Information with Consumers

The House of Representatives approved two “gag clause” bills on September 25, 2018 that would prevent insurers from restricting pharmacies from informing consumers about lower cost, out-of-pocket prices for their prescriptions.  The bills were approved by the Senate earlier this month, and are now cleared for the President’s signature. Specifically, S 2553, the Know the … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Finalizes Rule Expanding Availability of Short-Term, Limited Duration Health Insurance

The Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services have issued a final rule that expands the availability of short-term, limited duration insurance policies that are exempt from Affordable Care Act (ACA) qualified health plan standards (e.g., the requirement to provide essential health benefits, prohibition on preexisting condition exclusions, lifetime and annual dollar limits, … Continue Reading

Congressional Hearings Spotlight Opioid Crisis, 340B Program, Medicare Physician Payments & More

The opioid crisis continues to be a focus for Congressional committees. The House Energy and Commerce Committee held hearings on prevention and public health solutions to the opioid crisis, along with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s role in combating the opioid epidemic. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing focusing on … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Proposes Rules to Expand Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance Plans

The Trump Administration has issued a potentially highly-significant proposed rule intended to expand the availability of short-term, limited duration insurance policies that are exempt from Affordable Care Act (ACA) qualified health plan standards.  Under the proposed rule, issued by the Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services (the “Departments”), the maximum duration of … Continue Reading

GOP Tax Bill Eliminates ACA Individual Insurance Mandate Penalty

While previous broad Republican efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have failed, the GOP tax bill cleared by Congress today has succeeded in effectively repealing the ACA’s individual health insurance mandate.  By way of background, the ACA established a penalty for failure to maintain health insurance coverage that provides at least minimum essential … Continue Reading

Roundup of Recent Congressional Health Policy Hearings

Several recent Congressional hearings have focused on health policy issues. For instance, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held hearings on Food and Drug Administration regulation of over-the-counter drugs and Public Health Service Act health workforce programs. The Senate Finance Committee held hearings on the Graham-Cassidy health insurance reform bill, CHIP funding reauthorization, and health … Continue Reading

Senate HELP Committee to Examine Ways to Stabilize Individual Health Insurance Markets

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions is holding a series of hearings in September 2017 to focus on “actions Congress should take to stabilize and strengthen the individual health insurance markets.” Specifically, a September 6 hearing will feature five state insurance commissioners, and second hearing on September 7 will include testimony from … Continue Reading

As ACA Repeal/Replace Debate Drags On, Trump Seeks Advice on How to Make Improvements to Health Care Markets

In a tacit acknowledgement of the hurdles ahead for enactment of Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal/replace legislation, the Trump Administration is soliciting suggestion for changes that could be made within the current legal framework to improve health insurance markets and meet Administration reform goals. In particular, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is … Continue Reading

House Judiciary Committee Advances Medical Liability, Insurance Antitrust Reform Bills

The House Judiciary Committee has approved HR 1215, the “Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017.” The bill includes a variety of medical liability reforms, including a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages, limits on contingency fees, and allocation of damages in direct proportion to fault. The provisions would apply only to claims concerning the provision … Continue Reading

Conflict of Interest Concerns Prompt New CMS Restrictions on Dialysis Facility Payment of Beneficiary Health Plan Premiums; Allows Plans to Reject Third-Party Payments

Citing “differences between providers’ and suppliers’ financial interests and patients’ interests” that “may result in providers and suppliers taking actions that put patients’ lives and wellbeing at risk,” CMS is imposing stringent new requirements on Medicare-certified dialysis facilities that seek to make payments of premiums for individual market health plans. By way of background, earlier … Continue Reading

Recent Congressional Health Policy Hearings and Markups

A number of Congressional committees have recently considered legislation and/or held hearings on various health policy proposals.  The Ways and Means Committee approved seven bills related to health care coverage and tax policy, including various bills to: expand access to health reimbursement arrangements and health savings accounts; ease employer insurance coverage mandates for students and … Continue Reading

HHS Finalizes ACA Nondiscrimination Protections for HHS Programs

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has published a final rule implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in any health program or activity that receives financial assistance from or is administered by HHS or any … Continue Reading

Senate Votes for Budget Reconciliation Bill Repealing Key ACA Provisions

The Senate has approved an amended version of a budget reconciliation bill (H.R. 3762) that would repeal key provisions of the ACA.  As approved by the Senate on December 3, 2015, the legislation would repeal ACA insurance subsidy and mandate provision, the transitional reinsurance program, and various tax provisions and make a variety of other … Continue Reading

Obama Administration Proposes 2017 ACA Marketplace Plan Benefit and Payment Parameters

On December 2, 2015, CMS is publishing its annual proposed Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters, which would govern participation in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Health Insurance Marketplaces for 2017. The wide-ranging rule includes a number of provisions intended to protect consumers enrolled in Marketplace plans, enhance transparency, improve marketplace premium stabilization programs, and … Continue Reading

Obama Administration Updates Rules for ACA Grandfathered Health Plans

On November 18, 2015, the Obama Administration published final regulations to update requirements for group health plans and health insurance issuers under the ACA, particularly with regard to the changes they can make to the terms of their plan/coverage while retaining their “grandfathered” status. The regulations also address preexisting condition exclusions, lifetime and annual dollar … Continue Reading

House Passes Budget Reconciliation Bill with ACA Mandate, Tax Repeal Provisions

Today the House of Representatives approved H.R. 3762, budget “reconciliation” legislation that would repeal four provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Specifically, the legislation would repeal the ACA employer and individual insurance mandates, the medical device excise tax, and the so-called “Cadillac tax” on high-cost health plans (an earlier House Ways and Means Committee provision that would … Continue Reading

Congress Clears Bill to Block ACA Change to Definition of Small Employer; House Votes to Broaden ACA Religious Exemption

The House and Senate have approved a bill (H.R. 1624) that would amend the Affordable Care Act’s definition of “small employer” to reduce the number of employers covered by new health insurance coverage requirements set to go into effect in 2016. The legislation would define small employers as those with 50 or fewer employees (rather … Continue Reading

Congressional Panels to Review Small Business Health Care, Medicaid Program Status

Two Congressional hearings are scheduled this week on health policy issues: On July 7, 2015, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has scheduled a hearing on “Small Business Health Care Challenges and Opportunities”; and On July 8, the House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee will focus on “Medicaid at 50: Strengthening and Sustaining the … Continue Reading

Administration Releases Final ACA Summary of Benefits and Coverage and Uniform Glossary Rule

On June 12, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service, Employee Benefits Security Administration, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released final regulations regarding the summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) and the uniform glossary requirements for group health plans and health insurance coverage in the group and individual markets under the Affordable Care Act. The regulations … Continue Reading

House Approves Bills to Modify ACA Rules for Employers Related to Part-Time Workers, Veterans

On January 8, 2015, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 30, the “Save American Workers Act.”  The legislation would amend the ACA’s definition of “full-time employee” for purposes of the requirement that certain employers provide health care coverage for their full-time employees. Specifically, the bill, which was approved on a 252 to 172 vote, would … Continue Reading

Congressional Hearings Examine Medicare Fraud, ACA, Digital Health, MedPAC Report, Brain Injuries

Recent Congressional hearings on health policy issues include the following: A House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee “21st Century Cures Roundtable” discussed steps Congress can take to bridge the gap between medical advances and the regulatory policies that govern them, and ultimately advance digital and personalized health care. The panel also released a related white … Continue Reading

HHS Provides Update on ACA Insurance Costs and Choices, Announces Management Changes

HHS has released a report on premiums, tax credits, and health plan choices on the ACA federal Marketplace for plans operating in 2014.  In addition, CMS has launched an initiative, dubbed “From Coverage to Care,” designed to answer questions consumers may have about their new health coverage under the ACA and to help individuals make … Continue Reading

Congressional Committees to Consider HHS Secretary Nomination, HHS Budget, ACA Implementation, Cancer Research

The Senate Appropriations Committee has scheduled a May 7, 2014 hearing to review the Administration’s FY 2015 budget request for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Also on May 7, the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee will examine the status of health insurance enrollment under the ACA, and the Senate Aging Committee will … Continue Reading
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