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Health insurance quotes reform weekly Easy To Insure ME

Health insurance quotes reform weekly Easy To Insure ME

Health insurance quotes reform weekly Easy To Insure ME

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Home Page > Finance > Insurance > Health insurance quotes reform weekly Easy To Insure ME

Health insurance quotes reform weekly Easy To Insure ME

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Posted: Dec 29, 2010 |Comments: 0


As the 111th Congress (2009-2010) comes to a close, it passed, and the President has signed, a tax bill with multiple moving parts. The bill was part of an end-of-session deal forged by President Obama and Republicans, with little Democratic input. The bill preserves the Bush-era tax cuts (with no carve-out to tax millionaires), extends a number of otherwise expiring individual and business tax provisions, reinstates the estate tax on Republican terms, and provides a 2 percent payroll tax cut for 2011 and a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits.  It remains to be seen whether this collection of legislative goodies will improve the public’s rather low (11 percent) approval rating of Congress, considering that it carries a 0 billion price tag that will be added to the national debt.

Over the weekend, the Senate passed the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which is now expected to be signed by the President this week. But Republicans in the Senate blocked Majority Leader Harry Reid’s effort to pass an omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2011 (September 2010 to October 2011) because of the earmarks hanging on the bill. Consequently, Reid has pulled the bill and opted for a Continuing Resolution approach to keeping government afloat into the New Year.  With this funding measure fairly completed, the Senate and the House are likely to adjourn for good sometime this week.

COLORADO: A draft bill regarding child-only coverage is being circulated. With an effective date of Jan. 1, 2012, the bill would require all carriers in the individual market, as of that date, to offer such coverage. The bill includes two open enrollment periods, notice of availability on a carrier’s website and data reporting to the Commissioner on the number of applicants, enrollees and denials. Coverage may be denied if other creditable coverage is available, and a surcharge of up to 50 percent may be charged if a policy lapses for more than 63 days before an applicant seeks coverage again.

KANSAS: Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger recently appeared before a public meeting of Kansas’ Joint Committee on Health Policy Oversight to give an overview of PPACA. Her presentation included Kansas-specific data on the uninsured population (18 percent), the newly established high-risk pool (currently 121 enrollees), reforms already in place, status of grant monies received, and plans for the future, including creation of an insurance exchange. Praeger explained that the federal government will take over creation of an exchange if the state declines to do so. Saying she ”wants to make sure it is done right,” Praeger encouraged the legislators on the committee to move forward with implementation. While the committee members were in agreement that federal control of an exchange in Kansas would not be desirable, they were also hesitant to support legislation that will enact anything related to ”Obama-care.” They expressed concern about whether the federal government will actually provide funding to cover the costs and stated their preference for supporting a “repeal and replace” approach.

OKLAHOMA: Members of the Oklahoma Association of Health Plans (including Aetna) recently met with Mike Rhoads, the incoming Deputy of Health Insurance, to talk about insurance exchanges and other topics. Set to serve under Commissioner-elect John Doak, Rhoads is a former BlueCross BlueShield executive. Rhoads was very interested in input on the topic of exchanges, whether one should be created by the state, what it should look like and what flexibility the state would have in creating one. While the new Republican Congressional leadership is discouraging state officials from taking any action to implement PPACA, Rhoads explained that he and Commissioner-elect Doak prefer to make plans to implement what is currently the “law of the land” and take an active role in exchange creation. They would rather not allow the federal government to take over the exchange or waiting for the Supreme Court to finally decide the issue of constitutionality. He was very interested in feedback on the current state exchanges in operation in Utah and Massachusetts, as well as any “models” that have been generated by working groups. Health plans also used the opportunity to discuss the topics of rate review, implementation of medical loss ratios (MLRs), the possibility of a phase-in for the individual market, and a new potential “pass through” fee on hospitals, intended to maximize federal Medicaid matching dollars.

TEXAS: Last week, a historic super-majority of Republicans was created after two Democrat House members announced they were officially switching political parties. Both members explained their decisions were due to political changes within their districts and a desire to ”be what the majority of the district is now.” Republicans  now can pass constitutional amendments and legislation without seeking Democratic support. By having two-thirds of the votes, Republicans have the ability to suspend parliamentary rules and begin debate on partisan issues that Democrats were unwilling to even discuss in the past. Some of those issues include Immigration and Voter ID, which had previously been blocked by Democrats. The legislature goes back into session January 11, 2011.

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