The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced new Consumer Assistance Grants program awards of nearly $30 million to help states and territories put patients in charge of their health care. These grants will support states’ efforts to establish or strengthen consumer assistance programs that provide direct services to consumers with questions or concerns regarding their health insurance.
This regulation outlines the requirements for the following processes of group health plans and health insurance coverage in the group and individual market: (1) internal claims and appeals, and (2) the external review processes. These updated processes become effective for plan years (policy years in the individual market) beginning on or after September 23, 2010. Key provisions of this regulation include: how insurers can comply with the new internal claims and appeals process, guidance for external review processes and whether insurers must follow state or federal procedures, and notice requirements for appeals processes. This regulation is not applicable to grandfathered group health plans.
This regulation outlines requirements for group health plans and health insurance coverage in the group and individual markets for two areas: (1) expansion of coverage of recommended preventive services, and (2) restrictions on or prohibition of the implementation of cost-sharing mechanisms by the insurers (i.e. coinsurance, deductibles and copayments). These requirements generally become effective for plan years (policy years in the individual market) beginning on or after September 23, 2010. A list of recommendations and guidelines for insurers with respect to preventative services is available at: http://www.HealthCare.gov/center/regulations/prevention.html
This regulation outlines the requirements for dependent coverage of children until the attainment of 26 years of age by their parents’ group health plans and health insurance issuers in the group and individual markets. This regulation also contains information regarding whether this provision preempts existing state laws that have different age limitations. Eligible dependents may be enrolled no earlier than the first day of the first plan year (policy years in the individual market) beginning on or after September 23, 2010.
This regulation outlines the requirements for state insurance websites (“Web Portals”) that must be made public by July 1, 2010 to individuals and small business in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Currently, each web portal at minimum must contain the following information (to the extent practicable):
- Health insurance coverage offered by health insurance issuers
- Medicaid coverage
- Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage
- State health benefits high risk pool coverage
- Coverage under the high risk pool
- Coverage for small businesses and their employees (small group market)
This regulation was adopted to offset the inadequate employer insurance coverage of employees in the early retiree age group (and their eligible spouses, surviving spouses and dependents of the retirees). Five billion dollars ($5,000,000,000) of federal funding was set aside for this temporary reinsurance program to help cover a portion of the insurance costs to participating employers that provide employment-based health insurance to employees in this retiree group. Reimbursement is available for claims between $15,000 and $90,000 (the amounts are “indexed for plan years starting on or after October 1, 2011”). Funds are awarded on a first come, first served basis, and nearly 3,000 employers and other sponsors have already been approved for participation. This program began no later than 90 days after the enactment of the statute, which was June 21, 2010 and will end by January 1, 2014. Additional information regarding this provision is available at: http://www.errp.gov/