Insurers gear up for changes required for reform
Insurers spend most of the year combing through the new health reform law after its passage in March, and adapting to subsequent regulations that HHS has issued on its provisions. The first changes come on Sept. 23, as health plans begin accepting adult dependents up to age 26 and eliminating lifetime coverage limits. Also in the summer, HHS kicks off two new coverage programs: a temporary $5 billion high-risk pool for uninsured adults with pre-existing conditions that will run until 2014, and a reinsurance program for employers to subsidize their coverage to early retirees from 55 and 65. Many insurers also must now provide preventive services such as mammograms and immunizations at no cost to members.
Insurers and employers have to make the decision starting this year on whether to bypass some of these new rules by seeking “grandfathered” status for their plans. If a health plan was in effect before March 23, when the reform bill became law, it could