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NAIC to Discuss Key Implementation Issues for Health Reform

Source: NAIC

Posted on 03 Dec 2009

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National health reforms are expected to bring sweeping change to existing state laws. While it is too early to know what laws will change, state regulators working through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) are laying the groundwork for major market reforms to be implemented as early as 2013.

"States face a daunting challenge to update their existing models to conform to new federal regulations,” said Sandy Praeger, Chair of the NAIC Health Insurance and Managed Care Committee and Kansas Insurance Commissioner. “Though we do not yet know what a final health reform product from Washington will look like, states must begin now to gather input from consumers, insurers, health care providers, producers and exchanges.”

Legislation pending on Capitol Hill would prescribe how states must reformulate public policy affecting rating rules, access to coverage, annual and lifetime limits, marketing, rate review, consumer protections and many other areas of regulation.

As the NAIC convenes in San Francisco this week for its Winter National Meeting, Praeger will provide other state regulators with a possible timeline scenario for implementing federal reforms:

* Early 2010: Bill signed by President Obama, enacted into law

* Early 2010-End of 2010: Federal regulation development

* Early 2011-End of 2011: NAIC updates models to reflect changes in federal law and regulation

* Early 2012-End of 2012: State legislatures update laws to meet federal minimum standards and begin development of exchanges

* 2013: Insurers update policy forms and rates to comply with new state laws and determine what types of coverage to offer in reformed markets

* 2014: Federal law effective

Praeger will moderate a public hearing on Dec. 4 to project how states respond to new federal law. Representatives from the following companies and organizations are scheduled to participate in the public hearing:

* AARP and Consumers Union will discuss how commissioners can engage in outreach and education efforts to ensure that states understand the changes that are coming to health insurance markets.

* The American Medical Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and Delta Dental will address insurance market and provider workforce issues.

* The National Association of Health Underwriters and the Massachusetts Commonwealth Connector will discuss issues related to the development and implementation of health insurance exchanges.

* The American Academy of Actuaries and the National Association of State Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans will discuss transition issues and the use of high risk pools to provide immediate coverage

The Health Care Reform Public Hearing is Friday, Dec. 4, from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. ET at the Hilton San Francisco.