The Trump administration took another step Wednesday toward deregulating federal insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act.
For coverage in 2018, consumers can buy an ACA-approved plan directly from a broker or an insurer’s website instead of having to go through HealthCare.gov, the CMS announced. The news comes just two days after small businesses were given permission to skip the federal marketplace to sign their employees up for SHOP coverage.
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Now that the House of Representatives passed a revised version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) the ball is in the Senate’s court. Despite calls to start from scratch, the Senate would be well advised to work off the structure of the AHCA. AHCA provides a solid foundation that could be improved with some tweaks. It repeals the ACA’s unpopular individual and employer mandates and penalties but preserves its well-liked protections for people with pre-existing conditions, the ban on lifetime coverage caps, coverage for children up to age 26 on their parents’ insurance and coverage of essential health benefits.
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Large employers are reexamining health care delivery systems and are looking for a more competitive marketplace, according to a new paper from the American Health Policy Institute. With health care policy front page news, it should be noted that the federal government is not the only institution taking a hard look at the subject and deciding whether changes are merited. Large employers who provide health care benefits to more than 170 million Americans are also reexamining current delivery systems. The paper illustrates longstanding concerns of large employers that have been intensified by the debate on the ACA, such as the lack of strong tools providing purchasers and consumers of health care with the information they need to evaluate the quality, cost, and effectiveness of the services being provided.
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The Trump administration is examining whether it’s legally permissible to keep funding Obamacare subsidies for low-income people, but “there’s a desire” to include them in the Republican health-care bill, a top White House health-care adviser told Bloomberg BNA.
The individual market won’t be stable unless Congress passes the Republicans’ American Health Care Act, Brian Blase, special assistant to the president in the National Economic Council, said in a May 12 interview with Bloomberg BNA. Anthem Inc., a major carrier in the Affordable Care Act exchanges, told White House officials that large premium increases it has requested for 2018 are based on the assumption that the cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies will be paid, Blase said.
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