A weekly compilation from Aetna of health care-related developments in Washington, D.C. and state legislatures across the country.
Week of August 12, 2013
The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) delivered a report last week that is fueling doubts about a smooth launch for health insurance exchanges on October 1, 2013. The report found that data security testing for the data services hub, which will provide exchanges across the country with access to data and services like eligibility verification, is months behind schedule. The revised schedule pushes the required security authorization decision back to September 30, just one day before the exchanges are scheduled to launch. With no margin for error, any further delays in the testing plan would mean that a full assessment of the security controls may not be available in time for launch. Critics are concerned that the exchanges could launch without the security controls needed to ensure that the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive information is adequately protected.
CALIFORNIA: Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, has signed contracts with the 12 health plans selected to compete for business in the new exchange in 2014. Originally, 13 insurers were scheduled to sell in the exchange next year, but a small county plan in Ventura backed out. All 12 will offer coverage in the individual marketplace while only six will compete in the new marketplace for small employers.
CONNECTICUT: The Department of Insurance has announced the four participating carriers and their final rates for individual and/or small group products to be offered on Access Health CT, the state’s health insurance exchange. Anthem and Healthy CT (CO-OP) will offer individual and small group products on Access Health CT while ConnectiCare will offer only individual products. United Healthcare will offer only small group products on the exchange. Aetna will offer individual and small group products in the off-exchange market.
NEVADA: The Board of Directors of the Silver State Health Exchange adopted a regulation to direct marketing efforts primarily to qualified individuals and small employers who are uninsured or who desire additional health insurance options. The marketing plan of the exchange will target working families, young invincibles and the state’s Latino population. The executive director advised that carrier meetings are underway to ensure system integration for eligibility, enrollment and payment information from the exchange.
OHIO: The Department of Insurance has announced that individual consumers buying health insurance on the state’s federally facilitated health insurance exchange will pay 41 percent more on average than they did in 2013. An ODI press release also confirmed calculations released previously that insurance company costs will increase by an average of 83 percent for providing individual health coverage. For individual health insurance plans, a total of 12 companies offering 200 different plans have been approved by ODI for the exchange. For small group plans, six companies offering 184 plans have been approved to sell on the exchange. During the two-month review process, the department requested changes to submissions that in some cases resulted in rate adjustments.
TEXAS: While in the state last week to help promote the ACA, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the Obama administration is open to talks with Texas about expanding health care for the poor. Following a meeting with Central Texas officials, Sebelius said her office is open to crafting a uniquely Texas plan to help get everyone access to health insurance. Texas has the nation’s highest uninsured rate, with roughly 6.1 million Texans lacking coverage. Gov. Rick Perry has rejected the idea of expanding access to Medicaid, an idea promoted by additional funding provided under the ACA. Perry has pledged state government will do nothing to help implement the program.
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