Today, the U.S. Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services issued the short-term, limited duration insurance final rule, which finalizes many of the changes in the proposed rule and modifies proposals in other areas. While the three departments finalized the less than 12-month length of the policy as proposed, they changed the total length of the policy to no longer than 36 months in total, taking into account renewals or extensions, based on comments received.
The final rule also retains the requirement that issuers of short-term, limited-duration insurance display prominently in consumer materials one of two versions of a consumer notice explaining the policy that they are purchasing. The departments also strengthened the language required in the notice and included language deferring to state authority. Finally, the departments revised the estimates of the impact of short-term, limited-duration coverage on the individual health insurance market. The final rule is effective and applicable 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. In California, legislation has been introduced — Senate Bill 910 (Hernandez, D-West Covina) — that would prohibit short-term, limited duration health plans from being sold in California.
The House and Senate have passed the fiscal year 2018 omnibus spending bill, providing funding for the federal government through the end of this fiscal year. The President signed the bill this afternoon.
A number of critical health care programs will see increases in their budgets, including:
$2.6 billion in new funding specifically for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services opioid reduction efforts
Additional resources for both the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
A $3 billion increase, including an added $500 million for opioid research, for the National Institutes of Health
Increased funding for graduate medical education for pediatrics and veterans’ health care
Missing from the measure is any effort to stabilize the health insurance markets.
The House and Senate today passed, and the President signed, another short-term spending bill to fund the federal government through March 23. The measure includes a number of CHA priorities, as well as a two-year budget agreement and increase to the debt limit. In addition to delaying cuts to Medicaid disproportionate share hospitals by two years and extending a number of rural programs, the measure authorizes the Children’s Health Insurance Program for a total of 10 years, as well as a wide variety of programs relating to telehealth, chronic care delivery and Medicare Advantage. CHA is preparing a summary of the legislation and its estimated impact for California’s hospitals and post-acute care providers. A section-by-section summary of the bill was released in CHA News yesterday.
The House narrowly passed the Senate’s fiscal year 2018 budget resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 71, by a vote of 216-212 with 20 Republicans voting “no.” The budget resolution allows Congress to use the reconciliation process, which only requires a majority vote, to move forward on a tax reform bill that could increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion. CHA will continue to monitor tax reform legislation, expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks.