The Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS) issued a final rule
last week implementing several consumer protections under the Affordable Care
Act (ACA) to
prevent insurance companies from discriminating against people with preexisting
conditions and protect consumers from insurance company abuses.
Under these reforms, all individuals
and employers have the right to purchase health insurance coverage regardless
of health status. In addition, insurers are prevented from charging
discriminatory rates to individuals and small employers based on factors such
as health status or gender, and young adults have additional affordable coverage
options under catastrophic plans.
These 5 key provisions
are applicable to nongrandfathered health plans:
In preparation for the health insurance
marketplaces and to streamline data collection
for insurers and states, the final rule amends certain provisions of the rate
review program. HHS has increased the transparency by directing insurance
companies in every state to report on all rate increase requests. A new
report has found that the law's transparency provisions have already resulted
in a decline in double-digit premium increases filed, from 75% in 2010 to,
according to preliminary data, 14% in 2013.