U.S. Territories Are Exempt from Affordable Care Act (ACA) Insurance Reforms: On July 16, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent letters to the insurance commissioners of the five U.S. territories to clarify that they are exempt from the state insurance market reforms enacted by the ACA. Previously, the territories were technically considered “states” for some insurance reforms, including guaranteed issue, community rating, and essential health benefits, but not for others, like individual and employer responsibility and consumer financial assistance. The clarification comes in response to concerns that this interpretation of the law was undermining the stability of the territories’ insurance markets.
Comment Period Ends on 2015 Issuer Notices: Comments on CMS’s draft issuer notices for discontinuing or renewing a product in the small-group or individual market were due July 17. Enroll America submitted comments and recommendations on the notices to improve the redetermination and renewal processes for consumers. Comments on the related proposed rule and accompanying guidance on the redetermination and renewal process for 2015 marketplace coverage are due July 28.
Rhode Island Approves 2015 Health Insurance Premiums: On July 17, Rhode Island’s insurance commissioner announced final 2015 premiumsfor the individual, small-employer, and large-employer markets. For the individual market, Neighborhood Health Plan will decrease rates by 7.3 percent, Blue Cross Blue Shield (the largest insurer in the state) will increase rates by 4.5 percent, and a third insurer, United, will enter the market.