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.
on previous studies that show many factors beyond medical care affect people's
health, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently established the Roundtable on Population Health Improvement to explore the interactions of these
influences. The new roundtable will provide opportunities for experts on
education, urban planning, medicine, public health, social sciences, and other
fields to interact and share their knowledge and perspectives with the goal of
catalyzing joint action.
a recent study by the National Research Council and IOM documented, Americans
experience worse health and shorter lives than people in other rich,
industrialized nations despite spending more on medical care than any other
nation. Several IOM studies have described the
effects of social and environmental factors that can lead to poor health
even when people have access to good health care. The nation's lagging
health burdens businesses, communities, and families, these reports note.
will engage roundtable members and outside experts, practitioners, and
stakeholders on 3 core issues:
hosts more than a dozen roundtables and forums, providing a neutral setting for
diverse groups of individuals to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern
and gain fresh insights and new understanding. A list of individuals who
serve on the roundtable can be found on IOM's website.
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently released its updated 2012 Guide to Clinical Preventive Services—an authoritative source that can help primary care clinicians and patients decide together what preventive services are right for a patient's needs. This edition of the guide includes the USPSTF’s evidence-based recommendations on clinical preventive services from 2002 through March 2012, topics in development, and at-a-glance clinical summary tables.
Go to USPSTF's A-Z Topic Guide to access recommendation statements on interventions to prevent low back pain, falls in older adults, and osteoporosis. USPSTF also makes recommendations on screening for and management of obesity in adults and children.
The 2012 guide can be found on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's website.