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New ACA Rule Gives States More Power

A final rule issued last week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will give states the power to loosen federal regulations for health insurance plans sold on the Affordable Care Act marketplace...
April 17, 2018

A final rule issued last week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will give states the power to loosen federal regulations for health insurance plans sold on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace. In an effort to reduce premiums, the Trump administration will allow states, among other things, to develop their own version of essential health benefits starting in 2020.

State insurance officials in Oklahoma say they will not make use of the rule, with Deputy Insurance Commissioner Mike Rhoades noting, “We did extensive consumer surveys, and we learned that the essential health benefits are really valued by consumers. That high approval gives us indication on where we need to be.” Meanwhile, Colorado Division of Insurance spokesperson Vincent Plymell said, “It’s a wait and see for us. We have no immediate plans to revamp the essential health benefits, but we’ll evaluate things as they come up.”

Tim Jost, professor emeritus of healthcare law at Washington and Lee University, said the federal government could take several other steps to help stabilize the marketplace, such as allowing states to pass reinsurance programs. He noted that “reinsurance for the entire individual market significantly reduced premiums for all during the first three years of the ACA and could be reinstated.”

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