EBIA Weekly Newsletter

HHS Seeks Comments on Reducing ACA Regulatory Burdens

   June 15, 2017

Reducing Regulatory Burdens Imposed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act & Improving Healthcare Choices To Empower Patients, 42 CFR Chap. IV, 45 CFR Subtitle A, 82 Fed. Reg. 26885 (June 12, 2017)

HHS has issued a request for information (RFI) seeking comments on reducing regulatory burdens imposed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and improving health care options. The RFI follows President Trump’s January executive order, which directed HHS and other agency heads with responsibility under the ACA to minimize the law’s “unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens” (see our Checkpoint article).

The RFI lists HHS’s actions to date to modify operation of the ACA under the Trump administration, such as the issuance of regulations intended to stabilize the individual and small group health insurance markets (see our Checkpoint article) and the announcement of the intention to propose regulations to change the enrollment process in the federal Small Business Health Options Program (FF-SHOP) to make it easier to purchase coverage (see our Checkpoint article). The RFI seeks comments (due by July 12, 2017) about changes to existing HHS regulations and guidance that could further a number of goals, including promoting consumer choice (e.g., by providing information to consumers to help them choose a plan that best meets their needs), stabilizing the health insurance markets, enhancing affordability, and affirming state regulatory authority over health insurance. According to HHS, the RFI is “solely for information and planning purposes” and comments received (or a summary) may be publicly posted.

EBIA Comment: The RFI, which contemplates further changes to existing health care reform guidance with a focus on individuals and small employers, comes as Congress continues to consider legislation intended to repeal and replace certain provisions of the ACA. Furthermore, funding of reimbursements to insurers for cost-sharing reductions still loom on the horizon. (Under the ACA, certain low-income individuals who enroll in Exchange coverage and qualify for premium tax credits may also qualify for reductions in cost-sharing features such as deductibles and copayments.) Reimbursements continue for now, as litigation proceeds to resolve whether Congress appropriated funds for this purpose (see our Checkpoint article). For more information, see EBIA’s Health Care Reform manual at Sections I.C (“Sources of Law”) and XXIX.F (“Premium Tax Credits for Lower-Income Individuals”). EBIA’s Health Care Reform manual and other manuals will be updated for developments that occur as a result of this RFI.

Contributing Editors: EBIA Staff.