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CHA Participates in HHS Listening Session; Shares Comments

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Region 9, held a listening session Sept. 22 on Affordable Insurance Exchanges. Participating were several federal officials, including Cindy Mann with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Steve Larsen with the Center of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO). After an overview and explanation of the proposed federal rules related to exchanges, plan standards, eligibility and enrollment, Medicaid eligibility and tax credits, callers were provided an opportunity to share feedback with CMS, CCIIO and treasury department staff. CHA thanked the staff for broadening the definition of stakeholders to include health care providers. CHA also encouraged CMS to adopt a final rule that establishes a streamlined enrollment process that includes a single application for consumers to use to apply for premium tax credits, cost-sharing reductions, Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, and to collect information necessary to enroll in qualified health plans through the exchange. In addition, CHA urged CMS to direct states to comply with applicable state laws and regulations that already have standards developed for ensuring provider network adequacy. Finally, CHA pointed out two critical flaws in the proposed rule defining an essential community provider: 1) some disproportionate-share hospitals were not included because of tax status; and 2) academic medical centers were not recognized in the definition despite the comprehensive scope of services they provide. CHA submitted written comments to CMS on the establishment of exchanges and qualified health plans. The comment letter is available at www.calhospital.org/hhs-listening-session. Contact: Anne McLeod, (916) 552-7536, amcleod@calhospital.org; Alyssa Keefe, (202) 488-4688, akeefe@calhospital.org.

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