French novelist and critic – Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr – famously said (originally in French and translated to English in the mid 1800’s) – “the more things change, the more they remain the same”. Based on recent news in Nebraska, relative to the roll out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, I am going to reverse Mr. Alphonse Karr’s famous quote to say – “the more things remain the same, the more they change”! If you’re not in Nebraska, keep reading because this week’s blog post addresses the allowance of what now amounts to a nearly three year delay of several key provisions* of the ACA…for some.
Barely more than a month ago, the White House granted a two year extension to the previously announced one year “transition relief”, allowing individuals and employers with fewer than 50 employees to “keep the plans they liked”. (See – http://sstevenshealthcare.blogspot.com/2014/03/aca-transition-reliefdelay-extendedmaybe.html ) This meant that several ACA provisions* originally set to take effect as plans began or renewed on or after January 1, 2014, could be delayed nearly three years.
Last week (April 30, 2014), the Director of the Nebraska Department of Insurance issued a notice (click – http://www.doi.nebraska.gov/notices/notc2014/notice02.pdf ) reversing a previous ruling issued on March 24, 2014, which indicated Nebraska would NOT be allowing the additional two year delay. Based on this reversal, health insurers issuing individual and small group (under 50 employees) coverage in NE will now be allowed to delay the implementation of several Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions, to October 1, 2017, based on plan anniversary dates.
Iowa initially made the decision to allow the two year delay on April 16, 2014 (click – http://www.iid.state.ia.us/node/8171674). So like NE, health insurers issuing individual and small group coverage in the state of IA will be allowed to delay the implementation of several ACA provisions until 10/1/17, based on each case’s anniversary date.
For All Other States:
Much like the ACA related issues of Exchanges/Marketplaces and Medicaid expansion, each State must decide whether they are going to allow insurers to act on the delays. I recommend “googling” your state’s insurance department, and looking at the posted notices, bulletins, press releases, etc., to determine your state’s position relative to the transitional relief and delays.
IMPORTANT: Remember that there were two separate and distinct delays: 1. the November 14, 2013 announced delay affecting case’s renewing between January 1, 2014 and October 1, 2014; and 2. the March 5, 2014 announced delay affecting case’s renewing on or before October 1, 2016.
Here are some important aspects to the transitional relief:
* The specific ACA provisions affected by the transitional relief/delays relate to:
Forgive me if I sound like a broken record, but…STAY TUNED!