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May 16, 2014

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In This Issue
Hot off the Press! Final Exchange Rule Released!
Burwell Hearing
Wed Like A Refund Please!
Medicaid Expansion in Indiana?
First Rate Submissions Are IN!
Register for the Compliance Corner on Thursday, May 22!
What Were Reading
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Hot off the Press! Final Exchange Rule Released!

We’re still sorting through the 436-page final rule just released from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on exchanges, market reforms and more. The final rule includes provisions on the SHOP exchanges, navigators and premium stabilization as well as the initial framework for the 2016 quality rating scores... Read More

Burwell Hearing

Sylvia Matthews Burwell, President Obama’s pick to replace outgoing secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius, had her second confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee this week. Burwell, the current head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), sailed through her first confirmation hearing before the Senate Health Education Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee last week and received raves from Senators on both sides of the aisle. Her bipartisan support was also evident during the Senate Finance hearing... Read More

Wed Like A Refund Please!
Two Republican Senators have introduced legislation that would require states that originally ran their own exchanges, but due to technical difficulties have decided to migrate over to the federal system, to refund the establishment and early innovator grants over a 10-year period. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and John Barrasso (R-WY) are championing the legislation. While it is highly unlikely that the bill will go anywhere in a democratically controlled Senate, the bill does draw attention to the amount of money spent on the struggling exchanges, specifically in Oregon, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maryland; the four states that have had the most trouble and have contemplated or are moving to the federal exchange system... Read More
Medicaid Expansion in Indiana?

This week, Indiana became the latest red-state to embrace a key component of President Obama’s health reform -- Medicaid expansion. Governor Mike Pence’s name has been tossed around for a possible 2016 GOP presidential bid and while he’s made no commitment just yet, his move to expand his state’s Medicaid program, with a conservative twist, could potentially boost his popularity in the polls later this year... Read More

First Rate Submissions Are IN!

On Monday, 17 insurers in Washington State filed their proposed 2015 plans. Proposals were submitted by carriers for a combined total of 230 plan options to be sold in the individual and small group markets, both on and off the state’s exchange. The 2015 rates submitted include an average increase of 8.25% from the previous year, the lowest average rate increase the state has seen in seven years, according to the insurance commissioner’s office... Read More

Register for the Compliance Corner on Thursday, May 22!
Before you head out of town for Memorial Day Weekend be sure to join John Hickman and Ashley Gillihan of Alston & Bird, LLC Health Benefit Practice on Thursday, May 22, as they walk you through recent agency guidance and its impact on marketing individual medical coverage through employer-based arrangements. Topics to be covered include HRAs, private exchanges and other defined contribution arrangements, important exceptions to the agency guidance and limitations on pre-tax treatment of individual medical coverage... Read More
What Were Reading

To be honest, we were too busy traipsing around the woods in the rain avoiding bears and ravenous fifth graders all week (AKA serving as a parent field trip chaperone) to read much of anything. So in my absence, the amazing Laura Eldon compiled not only this list, but the whole Washington Update for you. From commencement speeches to hearings on the hill, she says this week has been full of hot air. For your reading pleasure, not only did she find you outlandish political debates and gaffes, but also some ideas on escaping the madness... Read More

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