In the Health Reform Update for this week, Congress appears likely to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program for at least six years but remains at an impasse over whether to restore Affordable Care Act (ACA) cost-sharing subsidies or take other action to stabilize the Marketplaces.
The Department of Labor starts the process of implementing the President’s executive order that would allow insurers to sell association health plans across state lines that do not need to comply with consumer protections in the ACA. Idaho’s Governor issues a similar executive order.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approves a federal waiver for Kentucky that would for the first time allow a state to impose work requirements on “able-bodied” Medicaid enrollees while imposing higher premiums or lockout periods for those who do not timely pay premiums or promptly respond to paperwork requests. At least ten other states are seeking similar waivers, consistent with new CMS guidance.
Maryland becomes the first state to propose its own mandate that everyone purchase health insurance they can afford (after Congress repealed the tax penalties for the ACA’s individual mandate starting in 2019). At least five states are seeking to follow Maryland’s lead and prohibit “price gouging” for essential off-patent or generic drugs. Washington becomes the latest state seeking to create their own reinsurance program to stabilize individual market premiums by compensating insurers for exceptional claims.