ACHA Health Care Reform Regulatory Update

12/16/11. ACHA advises that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a bulletin outlining the approach the Department will take in determining the Essential Health Benefits (EHB) package mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Their announced approach is intended to give the States flexibility to select an existing health plan to set the “benchmark” for the items and services that would be included in the EHB package.

ACHA had submitted earlier comments to CMS via letter [pdf] on October 18, 2011 as the agency continued working to develop the EHB package, and again via an EHB Listening Session conducted by CMS in New York City on November 16, 2011.  ACHA essentially agreed with the approach of finding the right bal­ance between comprehensive health care coverage and cost/affordability when determining the EHB coverage package mandated by the ACA, but has taken these opportunities to remind HHS/CMS of the unique features of college students and their insurance needs.

While the development of the federal regulations on the EHB package is still not complete, this announced bulletin provides yet more insight into the process being used.  Although the approach outlined in this bulletin has no immediate impact on college student health insurance plans, ACHA will be further examining this announcement for any possible effects regarding college health insurance.

After reviewing the announcement, if you have any comments or input regarding its relevance or impact on student health plans, we encourage you to submit them to ACHA no later than January 13, 2012 via the following email address: ACA_EHB_Regs@acha.org.

We welcome the input of all ACHA members.