OVERNIGHT HEALTHCARE: More O-Care exemptions

The Department of Health and Human Services has exempted health insurers in U.S. territories from a slew of requirements under ObamaCare.

In a Wednesday letter, HHS said the insurance companies in the territories do not have to follow certain marketplace requirements because they are not considered “states.”

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“After a careful review of this situation and the relevant statutory language, HHS has determined that the new provisions... are appropriately governed by the definition of ‘state,’” said the department. “[T]hese new provisions do not apply to individual or group health insurance issuers in the U.S. territories.”

Insurance companies in Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands are no longer required to implement a number of ObamaCare measures such as the community rating system, a single-risk pool, the medical loss ratio or guaranteed benefits. Read more: http://bit.ly/1oOgVyU.

 

UnitedHealth expands into O-Care: The nation’s largest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group, will expand into as many as two-dozen state health exchanges in the next enrollment period.

UnitedHealth currently provides individual and small-group insurance in about a dozen state exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.

Stephen Hemsley, CEO of UnitedHealth Group, said during an investor call Thursday that the provider had used the last year to study consumer behavior and the workings of the new exchanges and would use that knowledge to expand the company's insurance offerings.

“By participating moderately this year and watching closely and listening we’ve learned about pricing, networks, regulatory structures, distribution and the consumer’s mindset regarding public exchanges,” he said.

In recent months, several states have announced growing numbers of insurers participating in their exchanges. Proponents of ObamaCare hope the trend will potentially drive up competition and push down costs. Read more: http://bit.ly/1wBcfk2.

 

Bill requires employer contraception disclosure: Democratic senators on Thursday proposed a bill that would require employers to tell prospective and current workers whether or not they provide free birth control coverage.

The Preventive Care Coverage Notification Act, sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska), would require the government to develop standards that would force businesses to tell workers whether they offer contraception coverage in their health plans.

The legislation specifically says companies should disclose what services guaranteed under the law they won’t cover, including contraception. It does not apply, however, to religious employers and other nonprofit religious organizations that have received an exemption or accommodation for their coverage limitations.

The bill is in response to a recent Supreme Court ruling that some “closely held” for-profit companies such as Hobby Lobby cannot be forced to provide free contraception coverage if it violates their religious beliefs. Read more: http://bit.ly/1taOlvD.

 

Labor requires employer contraception disclosure: Companies must notify their workers if they are not going to offer free contraception coverage in their employee health plans, the Department of Labor said Thursday.

Labor published a notice on its website that said all “closely held” for-profit companies have to tell their workers if they plan to opt out of providing the coverage in response to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.

The notice was published in the form of a question and answer on Labor’s web site.

The department says that as part of “longstanding regulations,” the employer must explain what coverage areas aren’t provided in an insurance plan. Read more: http://bit.ly/1rkVRX2.

 

State by state:

Washington's uninsured rate just fell by 38 percent: http://bit.ly/1tXoFa3

Dane County judge clarifies Wisconsin medical abortion law: http://bit.ly/1jUWMuU

Senate's idea to reform NC Medicaid OK'd by panel: http://bit.ly/1oOgmoD

Proposal to provide new mothers with IUDs who want them through Medicaid: http://7ny.tv/1yys8e1

 

Lobbying Registration:

Cozen O'Connor Public Strategies/ American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic

Foley & Lardner LLP/ AudioEye

Foley & Lardner LLP/ Caregiver Services, Inc.

Olsson, Frank, Weeda, Terman & Matz, PC/ Edesia

Greenberg Traurig, LLP/ Lorillard, Inc.

McBee Strategic Consulting, LLC/ International Fragrance Association North America

McBee Strategic Consulting, LLC/ Lakeland Regional Medical Center

Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough/ Health Level Seven International (HL7)

The DLM Group/ Geneva Health Care, Inc.

Cyrus M. Jollivette Public Affairs LLC/ Cyrus M. Jollivette Public Affairs LLC

 

Reading list:

Obama administration is looking for the next ObamaCare website contractor: http://bit.ly/1mSGjXs

Threat rises in U.S. from mosquito-borne chikungunya virus: http://reut.rs/1ruPuOo

Hospital patients no safer today than 15 years ago, Senate panel hears: http://bit.ly/1rkZtYX

SEC says House insider probe involves 44 funds, entities: http://bloom.bg/1mZ4Eun