Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Illinois Health Care Reformers Ask For Federal Clarity
Health care advocates are generally pleased with the benchmark benefits for individual and small group health plans that Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration chose to comply with the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act. However, they worry about the lack of details coming from the federal government on how states should carry out the changes.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gave states the task of choosing the basic level of benefits that plans for individuals and many small businesses will offer under the new law. Governor Quinn’s advisory council last week opted for the Blue Cross Blue Shield's Blue Advantage plan. But HHS is still working on many of the regulations for the plan which states must implement by 2014.
“They didn’t really outline the clear chain of command and accountability,” Mitts said. “HHS is in the process of working on proposed regulation for this. Things might slip through the cracks, and people might find themselves in plans with coverage that doesn’t really meet their needs.”
For example, “Nothing is very clear in terms of how comprehensive or how robust the mental health or substance abuse coverage is,” said Sara Moscato Howe, chief executive officer of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association.
Most consumers who have small group or individual plans probably won’t notice much difference in their coverage, though, said Coleen Burns, special counsel for health policy for the Illinois Department of Insurance. “Most of the plans in the small group market covered all the 10 essential benefits. However, she noted that there are plans that do not cover some of the essential benefits, such as maternity care, and in 2014 they will be required to.
You can read Jamey's full report at: http://illinoisissuesblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/advocates-concerned-about-lack-of.html