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July 11, 2014

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In This Issue
Everyone Makes Mistakes
The Supreme Court Ruling Burwell v. Hobby Lobby - What Does It Mean
New GAO Study on MLR
August Recess Is Almost Here - Have You Made Your Appointments?
New Studies Show Uninsured Rates Are Falling
House Lawsuit Will Focus on the Employer Mandate
What We’re Reading
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Everyone Makes Mistakes

Steamy Arizona and the NAHU Annual Convention must have caused our brains to cramp. How else can we explain missing an error in our last issue in the piece on the final rule regarding waiting periods and the orientation period? Now that we’re back to the East coast’s balmy 90 degree heat – instead of 111 degrees – we can confirm that employer post-health reform waiting periods may only be 90 days and the newly allowed orientation periods can only be 30, instead of 90!

Here is a rerun of last issue’s article with the correction included!... Read More

The Supreme Court Ruling Burwell v. Hobby Lobby - What Does It Mean

Last year, in the days immediately following the NAHU convention, the Obama Administration decided to delay the employer mandate. The year before that, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the individual mandate NFIB v. Sebelius. This year the health reform drama was a little less intense, but still significant with the United States Supreme Court (or as we like to call them—SCOTUS) releasing their 5:4 ruling on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby on June 30.

To set up the case, the health reform law and its related regulations includes a requirement for employers to provide employees with health insurance that provides access to 20 types of no-cost contraceptives. The owners/families of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties objected to paying for coverage of four types of contraceptives, such as IUDs and the “morning after” pill, believing that providing these contraceptives through employer sponsored health insurance would make them complicit in abortion... Read More

New GAO Study on MLR

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) study on broker commissions and the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) was released yesterday, which concluded that MLR rebates in 2015 would be much lower if broker commissions were removed from the MLR equation. “Insurers paid about $1.1 billion in total rebates to enrollees and policyholders who paid premiums in 2011, the first year that insurers were subject to the PPACA MLR requirements, and about $520 million in rebates in 2012. These amounts would each have decreased by about 75 percent had agents’ and brokers’ fees and commissions been excluded from the MLR and rebate calculations, assuming insurers made no other changes that could affect their MLRs.”... Read More

August Recess Is Almost Here - Have You Made Your Appointments?

Now that we’ve all recovered from NAHU’s Annual Convention in Scottsdale, Arizona, it’s time to get ready for August Recess, when members of Congress leave Washington, DC, and head home for an entire month. Members of Congress commute back and forth to their home districts and state fairly regularly, but August is the month where they park themselves in district and get to spend quality time with you, their constituents. With that said, their schedules are likely to already be filling up, so if you haven’t already made an appointment to meet with your member of Congress or a member of their staff in district, please do so! Once you do, please let us know, by logging your appointment here. We will have supporting documents prepared for you to take on your meeting... Read More

New Studies Show Uninsured Rates Are Falling

Three new surveys, all released this past Thursday, found that the United States has a substantial number of newly insured adults. Now none of these surveys will settle arguments about whether or not the health reform law was actually necessary, if it costs too much, is too complicated, or if it actually is doing anything to make the cost of medical care less expensive, but they show that the number of Americans with access to health coverage is growing significantly. And even those that oppose the structure of the health reform law in general tend to think this is a good thing. The Commonwealth survey, for instance, found that 78% of self-identified Republicans who had gotten covered were somewhat to very optimistic that it would improve their ability to get needed healthcare... Read More

House Lawsuit Will Focus on the Employer Mandate

The House Republican effort led by Speaker John Boehner to sue President Obama for what they call his broad abuse of executive power began in earnest this week. Despite early hints that the suit would focus on a wide array of policy topics, the GOP Caucus now says their lawsuit will be based on his Administration’s decision to delay the PPACA employer mandate. Earlier this week, Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions released a draft resolution to initiate the suit. It will be considered by the committee next week and is expected to reach the House floor by the end of July. The argument being used for the case is that Obama’s executive orders to delay the mandate via regulation are a clear example of the president changing the law without congressional approval, a constitutional no-no... Read More

What We’re Reading
Our wonderful mother is here to babysit and we are almost off to happy hour tonight and a weekend trip to the beach with our favorite little people and their Nana. But before we go, we bring you these gems!... Read More
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