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February 15, 2013

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In This Issue
It’s That Time Again: Exchange Deadline Round…3?
Exchanges—Get Ready Because Here They Come!
Stop the HIT Bill Dropped
State of the Union
Tavenner May Be a Go
The Second Most Common Story in Recent Washington Updates
What We're Reading
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It’s That Time Again: Exchange Deadline Round…3?

Thought the deadline for states to determine which exchange model they would be using has already passed? Surprise - there is one more! Today, February 15, is the last day for states to decide whether or not they will enter into a partnership exchange with the federal government. While most states have gradually been making their decisions, a few key states have been building suspense and holding out. Several states have expressed concern regarding the exchange models, saying that the Administration has not provided them with enough information to make a final decision. Well, Virginia, Utah, Florida and New Jersey, your time is up... Read More

Exchanges—Get Ready Because Here They Come!

The Senate Finance Committee met yesterday for a lengthy two-part hearing about the implementation of health insurance exchanges. The hearing was notable for two key reasons: it provided the greatest amount of insight as to where HHS is in the federal exchange development process to-date and it featured biting criticism and skepticism of the Administration’s progress so far from five key Democrats; Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Ron Wyden (D-OR)... Read More

Stop the HIT Bill Dropped

Representatives Charles Boustany (R-LA) and Jim Matheson (D-UT) introduced legislation this week to eliminate the new national health insurance premium tax set to take effect in 2014. This tax will be levied on health plans based on their premium volume for all full-insured group and individual health insurance policies but is expected to be passed right down to policyholders. The amount of the tax will vary based on the carrier, state and type of policy sold, but America’s Health Insurance Plan officials have estimated to NAHU that the tax will cost an average family in a small group plan more than $500 a year beginning in 2014 and that the amount will rise annually. Furthermore, a 2011 analysis by Oliver Wyman estimates that this tax “will increase premiums in the insured market on average by 1.9% to 2.3% in 2014,” and by 2023 “will increase premiums 2.8% to 3.7%.”... Read More

State of the Union

President Obama addressed the Congress and the American people on Tuesday night in giving his State of the Union Address. Just in case you do not want to sift through the text of the speech, here is a breakdown of what issues the President covered in graphs and a link to NAHU’s press release on the speech...  Read More

Tavenner May Be a Go

Marilyn Tavenner has been the Acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services since December 2011, but the Senate Democratic leadership spent all last year refusing to give her a confirmation hearing. Previously, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) said that he could not schedule a hearing on her nomination because it was “virtually impossible” to see how she could get the support of 60 senators. But now it appears Baucus has had a change of heart. On February 13 he told the Bureau of National Affairs the hearing would take place “soon.”...  Read More

The Second Most Common Story in Recent Washington Updates

HHS has sent more regulations over to the White House Office and Management and Budget for review. This week, the final rules on essential health benefits and reinsurance mechanisms appeared on the OMB regulatory dashboard... Read More

What We're Reading

CMS has its own YouTube Channel. We are not sure it will garner as many hits as a sneezing baby panda or even a baby dancing to “Gangnam Style”, but we have tuned in...  Read More

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