HHS has taken a giant step to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (P.L. 111-148) by releasing 644 pages of regulations governing the health insurance exchanges (HIE). The HIEs are an integral component of PPACA, as they will be the source for uninsured individuals to buy affordable private coverage. Enrollment in the exchanges is to be coordinated seamlessly with enrollment in Medicaid and the children’s health insurance program (CHIP). The same entities also may determine eligibility for cost sharing subsidies such as the advance payment of the tax credit for payment of premiums.
The Final rule sets standards for qualified health plans, the relationship between employers and the health insurance exchanges and operation of the exchanges in the individual market.
Scheduled for publication in the Federal Register on March 27, 2012, the rule will become effective 60 days later. HHS also released a lengthy Regulatory Impact Analysis.