Congressman Charles B. Rangel applauded the Obama administration for issuing two regulations on Tuesday that will fill in key details on how the Affordable Care Act will regulate insurance plans, beginning in 2014.
"As more provisions of the Affordable Care Act get implemented, I hope the full extent of how this helps Americans becomes clearer to everyone," said Rangel, the sponsor of the healthcare reform law. "These new rules outline the benefits that must be included in health insurance plans sold on state exchanges and will control the cost of the premiums."
The first rule describes how the healthcare reform law's "guaranteed issue" and "community rating" requirements will work in practice. These rules will prevent insurance companies from discriminating against customers with pre-existing health problems and limit how much premium prices can vary on the basis of age, tobacco use, family size and geography.
The second rule relates to The Affordable Care Act's provision that requires a list of "essential health benefits" be included with all insurance products that are sold in state individual and small-group markets. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has delegated some of that authority to states, which can customize their packages within certain parameters, through earlier guidance. However, this rule gives states more formal guidance and allows them to pick their plans and start planning for implementation. A third rule gives guidance for employers that offer their workers wellness programs. This rule will allow employers to offer some financial incentives for workers to stay healthy without discriminating against sick employees.
"It's so important that Americans learn about the benefits from this law which has made healthcare more affordable and comprehensive. Since 2010, millions of uninsured Americans and more than half a million additional young adults were able get access to healthcare."