Ohio officials asked the Trump Administration on Friday to formally waive the Affordable Care Act individual mandate that requires residents to have health insurance, making it the first state to make such a waiver request.
Ohio’s Legislature called for the 1332 waiver last summer, and Congress zeroed out the financial penalty for not having coverage in its tax bill in December.
“The (tax) legislation zeroed out the penalty that is associated with the individual mandate … but … did not eliminate the mandate itself,” Ohio Department of Insurance Director Jillian Froment said in a March 30 letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “That is why Ohio is submitting an application to waive [the mandate].”
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A new law in Iowa could provide the path forward for Republican-led states that are looking for ways around ObamaCare’s rules and regulations.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) on Monday signed a law that will allow the Iowa Farm Bureau to collaborate with Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield on self-funded “health benefit plans.”
The plans would be cheaper than traditional ObamaCare plans because they wouldn’t be required to meet federal requirements.
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New health-insurance legislation in Iowa will become the latest test of the ability of states to allow coverage that doesn’t comply with the federal Affordable Care Act.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is expected to soon sign into law a bill that would allow the Iowa Farm Bureau, a nonprofit, to offer health coverage that would fall outside the ACA’s rules. The new coverage, which the legislation calls “health benefit plans,” would be administered by the state’s largest insurer, Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield . The product would officially not be considered health insurance, according to the legislation—leaving details of the coverage unclear.
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Earlier this month, the Trump administration shot down a plan from Idaho to sell health insurance that doesn’t comply with Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations.
“If a state fails to substantially enforce the law, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has a responsibility to enforce these provisions on behalf of the State,” wrote CMS Administrator Seema Verma in her rejection letter.
Three weeks later, another state — Iowa — is on the verge of making a similar move.
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The Iowa Senate gave final approval Tuesday to controversial legislation that would exempt certain health plans from Affordable Care Act mandates.
The legislation combines two proposals backers say would reduce health insurance costs, but critics worry could undermine consumer protections.
Senate File 2349 was approved 37-11, sending it to Gov. Kim Reynolds, whose spokeswoman said she was “eager” to sign it. The measure passed the House last week.
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California signed up an estimated 450,000 people under Medicaid expansion who may not have been eligible for coverage, according to a report by the U.S. Health and Human Services’ chief watchdog.
In a Feb. 21 report, the HHS’ inspector general estimated that California spent $738.2 million on 366,078 expansion beneficiaries who were ineligible. It spent an additional $416.5 million for 79,055 expansion enrollees who were “potentially” ineligible, auditors found.
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California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon is refusing to advance this year a controversial single-payer health care bill that would dramatically reshape the state’s health care financing and delivery system. Instead, he’s orchestrating an alternative, narrower approach that seeks to achieve universal coverage and make Obamacare more affordable.
Rendon this year gave lawmakers in his house “autonomy to come up with a package” of health care bills, he said in a recent interview. Now, without engaging the other side in the Senate, the Assembly has unveiled a major legislative push on health care that would expand coverage and lower consumer costs while laying the groundwork for a future system financed by taxpayers.
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As the debate continues in Virginia over whether to expand Medicaid, it is crucial to look at what the outcome has been for other states that have already expanded their programs. Thirty-one states have taken this step under the provisions laid out in the Affordable Care Act. The ACA expanded Medicaid eligibility to able-bodied adults below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, and covered 100 percent of the cost of the expansion enrollees for the initial period. That percentage declines, and by the year 2020 the federal government will only cover 90 percent of the cost of expansion enrollees. With funding after that unclear, residents of Virginia will face an unknown future of Medicaid. Given the facts staring back at us, why would any Virginian support expanded coverage?
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Arkansas recently became the third state to receive approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to implement a work requirement for Medicaid adults. The hand-delivered approval follows the department’s endorsement of work requirements submitted by Kentucky and Indiana and comes ahead of action on similar requests from a host of other states, including Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, Utah, and Wisconsin. Arkansas’s request was among several proposed amendments to the state’s Section 1115 demonstration waiver for its Arkansas Works program, including a proposed income eligibility cap at 100 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) for the expansion population, which HHS did not approve at this time.
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What does “substantially” mean?
That could be the pivotal question for Idaho, whose chief executives now must justify their plan to let Idahoans buy health insurance in defiance of the Affordable Care Act.
Gov. Butch Otter, Lt. Gov. Brad Little and Idaho Department of Insurance Director Dean Cameron said earlier this year that insurers would be allowed to sell plans that don’t comply with the ACA, also known as Obamacare. They called the plans “state-based” insurance.
Those state officials — relying on legal opinions including those written by lawyers for Blue Cross of Idaho — believe they are “substantially enforcing” the law.
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