Individual/Small Group

On September 2, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a Final Rule specifying enrollment notice requirements and re-enrollment options for plans offered through the Exchange in 2015. Regarding notice requirements, the Final Rule states that consumers in the Exchange will receive notices from the marketplace before open enrollment begins that explain

On March 20, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 369, mandating that plans allow Californians whose individual health plans were canceled by the Affordable Care Act to continue to receive coverage for their non-participating providers through treatment for pregnancy, cancer, and chronic conditions, among others. The bill passed unanimously and as an urgency measure, allowing it

CMS issued an FAQ on coverage of same-sex spouses under PHSA section 2702, which requires health insurance issuers offering non-grandfathered health insurance coverage in the group or individual markets to guarantee the availability of coverage with certain exceptions. The FAQ clarifies that a health insurance issuer in the group or individual market that offers coverage

On January 27, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued proposed regulations (“Proposed Regulations”, available here) clarifying the penalties imposed on nonexempt persons who fail to maintain minimum essential coverage as required by Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 5000A. Very generally, Code Section 5000A requires nonexempt persons to either (1) maintain minimum essential coverage, or (2) make a shared responsibility payment. The Proposed Regulations:

  1. explain which government-sponsored programs do not qualify as “government-sponsored minimum essential coverage”;
  2. clarify that “minimum essential coverage” excludes health plans and programs that consist solely of “excepted benefits”;
  3. clarify—for purposes of the “lack of affordable coverage” exemption—the required contribution for individuals eligible to enroll in an eligible employer-sponsored plan that provides employer contributions to health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) or wellness program incentives;
  4. expand the definition of hardship exemptions that may be claimed on a federal income tax return and provide additional guidance; and
  5. clarify the computation of the monthly “shared responsibility payment” penalty amount.

Comments with respect to the Proposed Regulations are due by April 28, 2014, and a public hearing is scheduled for May 21, 2014.


Continue Reading IRS Promulgates Clarifying Regulations Regarding Abstainer Penalties Under the ACA

On February 10, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a notice seeking public comment on its revision to data elements being collected for coverage offered on and off the Exchange. In particular, CMS seeks comment on revisions to data collected by the Exchange to ensure that Qualified Health Plans meet certain

On November 14, 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the Department of Health and Human Services (CMS) issued a letter to state insurance commissioners detailing the Administration’s new “transitional policy” regarding non-grandfathered coverage in the small group and individual health insurance markets. Under the transitional policy, health insurance issuers may choose to

President Obama announced on November 14 that the Administration will allow health insurers to continue certain coverage in the individual and small group market which would have not otherwise met the market reform requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This change raises significant questions and operational problems for issuers, providers, employer sponsors of health plans, and other organizations operating in the health care industry. In conjunction with the President’s announcement, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services of the Department of Health and Human Services (CMS) has issued a letter to state insurance commissioners (CMS Letter) detailing the Administration’s new “transitional policy” in regard to this issue. The CMS Letter provides some guidance regarding health insurance policies that now may be continued, and specifies the necessary conditions under which these policies may be continued. However, there remains much uncertainty as to whether issuers will be able to continue to offer these policies, as well as the overall impact on the insurance market.
Continue Reading The Obama Administration’s ‘Fix’ for Insurance Cancellations: Five Things Worth Taking into Account

On November 14, 2013, under increasing political pressure, President Obama announced that the Administration temporarily will allow insurers to renew some individual and small employer policies for 2014—even if these plans do not meet certain Affordable Care Act requirements, such as Essential Health Benefits. The new rules permit insurers, until October 1, 2014, to renew

In the wake of United States v. Windsor, the case in which the Supreme Court held the Defense of Marriage’s (DOMA) prohibition on federal recognition of same-sex marriages unconstitutional, the Internal Revenue Service issued Internal Revenue Ruling 2013-17. The Ruling held that same-sex individuals who were married under state law would be considered

On September 25, 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule to establish the Basic Health Program pursuant to Section 1331 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Basic Health Program aims at assisting individuals whose incomes exceed the threshold for Medicaid and similar programs, but who cannot afford to purchase coverage in the ACA’s Health Insurance Marketplaces (i.e., .individuals who have income levels between 133 to 200 percent of the federal poverty level). States that establish a Basic Health Program will receive federal funding equal to 95 percent of the amount of the premium tax credits and the cost sharing reductions that would have otherwise been provided to (or on behalf of) eligible individuals if these individuals enrolled in Qualified Health Plans through the Marketplaces.
Continue Reading CMS Publishes Proposed Rule on Basic Health Program