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June 20, 2011
In This Issue
Larsen Questioned on MLR Requirements
MiniMed Waiver Program Drawing to a Close
Exchange Regulation Expected Shortly
NAHU Shows Support for Hatch/Paulsen HSA Legislation
Debt Ceiling Negotiations Continue to Address Health Policy Issues
This Week in Washington
Upcoming Washington Update Schedule
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Larsen Questioned on MLR Requirements

On June 15, the House Energy and Commerce Committee reconvened its hearing titled "PPACA’s Effects on Maintaining Health Coverage and Jobs: A Review of the Health Care Law’s Regulatory Burden." Steve Larsen, the director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s medical loss ratio (MLR) requirements, was the only witness. Read More

MiniMed Waiver Program Drawing to a Close

Last Friday, HHS announced that after September 22, 2011, it will no longer consider applications or requests for extensions to its limited medical benefit plan (a.k.a. MiniMed plan) waivers program. Waivers will only be allowed to be in effect through 2013, since new health reform requirements and protections will become effective on January 1, 2014, and the Obama administration feels these will eliminate the need for limited medical benefit coverage. The program currently serves employers and health insurance carriers that offer limited medical benefit plans that do not meet the new PPACA annual limit requirements.  Read More

Exchange Regulation Expected Shortly

The first federal regulation regarding health insurance exchanges is expected to be released very shortly, perhaps as soon as the end of this week or early next week. The proposed regulation is formally titled "Requirements to Implement American Health Benefit Exchanges and Other Provisions of the Affordable Care Act." It was sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review this morning, which is the final step in the federal regulatory process before public release. Read More

NAHU Shows Support for Hatch/Paulsen HSA Legislation

NAHU continues to work to gain support for S. 1098, the Family and Retirement Health Investment Act of 2011. Sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative Erik Paulsen (R-MN), the measure would eliminate many obstacles HSA consumers have struggled with for years. The bill would also repeal PPACA requirements that hurt individuals and families who purchase consumer-directed health care products, such as the limitation on small-business owners purchasing high-deductible plans post-2014, and the requirement in effect now that prevents individuals from using their account-based plans like FSAs and HSAs to pay for over-the-counter prescription drugs. To send an Operation Shout message to your senators and representatives urging them to co-sponsor S. 1098, please click here. Read More

Debt Ceiling Negotiations Continue to Address Health Policy Issues

Participants in negotiations led by Vice President Biden to raise the debt ceiling left this week’s meetings voicing optimism about their progress and set July 1 as a deadline for reaching a tentative agreement. The group’s goal is an agreement that increases the federal debt limit by at least $2 trillion (to help fund the government through the end of 2012) and to reduce spending by the same amount over a decade as part of an effort to reduce the federal debt. Changes to health care programs have been a central part of these discussions. Read More

This Week in Washington

Both the House and the Senate are in session this week, and multiple hearings on health care topics have been scheduled. Read More

Upcoming Washington Update Schedule

Next week, NAHU will be holding its annual convention in San Antonio, Texas. Unless there are major breaking news developments, the Washington Update will not be published next week. Instead, our next regularly scheduled issue will be sent to members on Tuesday, July 5, following the Fourth of July holiday. Read More

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