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October 3, 2011
 
In This Issue
Senator Ben Nelson Sends HHS Letter Blasting MLR Impact on Agents and Brokers
Stay Tuned For Much-Anticipated IOM Report on Essential Benefits This Friday
Bipartisan Letter Urges Preservation of Employer-Based Health Insurance
Change in HRA Reporting Requirements
Health Reform Cases Gaining Supreme Court Attention
Supreme Court Hears Medicaid Challenge This Week
Kaiser Family Foundation Releases New Data on Employer-Sponsored Coverage Trends
HHS: CLASS Act Decision Coming in Mid-October
Representative Paul Ryan Urges Republicans to Rally Around a PPACA “Replacement” Model
HUPAC Welcomes Steve Salamon to the Team!
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Senator Ben Nelson Sends HHS Letter Blasting MLR Impact on Agents and Brokers

On September 30, Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius urging her to reconsider the inclusion of agent compensation in the calculation of the medical loss ratio (MLR) provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Read More

Stay Tuned For Much-Anticipated IOM Report on Essential Benefits This Friday

For many in the health policy world, this Friday is a red-letter day because the long-awaited Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) essential health benefits report will finally be released. The IOM is the group charged with undertaking a study resulting in recommendations on the criteria and methods for determining the essential health benefits package under PPACA. Friday’s report will not actually recommend what should be covered in the essential benefits package, but will suggest how HHS should approach its decision. HHS’s ruling on the essential benefit requirements will have a significant impact on the cost of coverage, both inside and outside exchanges. Read More

Bipartisan Letter Urges Preservation of Employer-Based Health Insurance

Reps. Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Tom Cole (R-OK) are currently circulating a bipartisan sign-on letter that will be sent to the members of the Supercommittee opposing the capping or eliminating the federal income tax exclusion for employer-provided health insurance benefits. The letter, addressed to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, states, “We write today to raise concerns about imposing new taxes on health benefits as part of debt reduction proposals. Efforts to cap or to eliminate these tax exclusions would have far-reaching consequences that would not only reduce health coverage for millions of Americans, but would also increase long-term federal spending obligations.” Read More

Change in HRA Reporting Requirements

Last week, CMS announced a change to the Medicare secondary payer mandatory reporting requirements for Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). Read More

Health Reform Cases Gaining Supreme Court Attention

Last week, a number of significant events occurred in the ongoing legal battle over the constitutionality of PPACA, which has now seen three circuit courts rule in three different ways on the issue. Last week’s legal development primarily concerned the case being brought by 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), the largest and highest profile challenge to the health reform law. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals last ruled on this case this past summer, upholding a lower court’s finding that PPACA’s individual mandate provisions are unconstitutional. Read More

Supreme Court Hears Medicaid Challenge This Week

The direct challenges to PPACA are not the only health reform-related cases the Supreme Court is considering. The Court’s fall term opens today with a consolidated set of cases from California concerning Medicaid state payment levels. The cases center on whether Medicaid providers and beneficiaries have a private right to sue against state officials regarding reimbursement rates and beneficiary access. Read More

Kaiser Family Foundation Releases New Data on Employer-Sponsored Coverage Trends

Last week, the Kaiser Family Foundation released its Employer Health Benefits 2011 Annual Survey, which provides a detailed look at trends in employer-sponsored health coverage, including premiums, employee contributions, cost-sharing provisions, and other relevant information. Read More

HHS: CLASS Act Decision Coming in Mid-October

After a particularly tough month for the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, HHS officials announced last Wednesday their plan to closely review and release a report on the proposed long-term care program’s solvency concerns in mid-October. The CLASS Act was created by PPACA to serve as a voluntary, government-backed, long-term care insurance program that requires a five-year vesting period before subscribers can collect benefits. In light of recent speculation that Congress may attempt to repeal the program, Assistant Secretary of Aging Kathy Greenlee vowed that the department is examining every aspect of the program and will “make recommendations after reviewing various legal, policy and actuarial reports.” Read More

Representative Paul Ryan Urges Republicans to Rally Around a PPACA “Replacement” Model

In a speech last week at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) called for Republicans to rally behind a comprehensive replacement to President Obama’s signature health care reform legislation through providing limited government contributions to help Americans access health insurance coverage.  Read More

HUPAC Welcomes Steve Salamon to the Team!

As HUPAC embarks on its critical mission to raise $1 million for its war chest, its Board of Trustees recently voted to contract with a vendor to intensify fundraising efforts. NAHU staff, in correlation with the HUPAC Board of Trustees, is excited to announce the committee’s unanimous choice, Mr. Stephen J. Salamon of the Lion Trainer Group, LLC. Read More

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