About 150 comment letters have been submitted to date and the talking points are largely predictable. The regulation of medical stop-loss insurance has long been on the radar screen of those involved with self-insured group health plans, but more recent developments should rattle the cages of many captive insurance industry service providers as well.
These pointed comments were prompted in response to testimony delivered by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during a March 1 committee hearing on the Administration’s evolving policy on health plan contraceptive coverage requirements for religious institutions.
First, it cannot be overstated how much is riding politically for the Obama Administration and many others within Democratic Party establishment at both the federal and state level regarding the successful implementation of state health insurance exchanges as mandated by the Affordable Care Act.
However, Michael Tanner – director of Health and Welfare Studies at the Cato Institute , who testified at the hearing – said the best thing state governments could do would be to reduce the costs of health care by allowing individuals to purchase plans from other states and small businesses to participate in insurance pools.
The conventional understanding of separation of powers dictates that should the regulators conclude that the self-insurance marketplace needs to be regulated differently than what is provided for in the ACA, they should make such recommendation to Congress so that this can addressed through the legislative process.