STATE WORRY ON NEW RULES FOR ASSOCIATION HEALTH PLANS
Final touches are being put by the U.S. Department of labour on new rules known as association health plans. These plans, however, will not have to include, mental, emergency or any other benefits required under the Affordable Care Act making it a cheap alternative to enterprises and to the policies on health care exchanges.
The trump administration in the United States will introduce measures that will make it easier for small business organisations to buy health insurance for their workers.
Many states both the Democrats and Republicans are sounding alarmed bells arguing that the changes that are yet to be introduced will weaken the state authority and enable unscrupulous operators to sell policies that are low-pricedwith imaginary benefits.
When the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) also known as Obama care was introduced in 2010, it flourished because millions of people across the US were enrolled in them. These plans, however, proved to be breeding grounds for scams and many went down the drain. Hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries who have signed up for the service found themselves bombarded with millions of unpaid medical bills.
States such as California, Minnesota and Washington have had their Insurance regulators raise concerns with the labour department. They are seeking the labour department to have states have power by establishing consumer protection and financial stability standards to bar certain plans from doing their business within their border lines.
The regulators also have their worry that the association health plans will weaken their insurance markets pulling away from their healthiest consumers and leave the rest with higher premiums to pay. These could leave a serious effect on most of these companies making them abandon their states.
Many organizations including advocates for people with illnesses such as leukaemia and cancer have aired out their warning to the agency telling them that the rules of weakening the states regulatory authority could prompt a seriousbacklash from most companies plus it could take them back to their old days.
Not all people are against this new rules, most trucking companies, builders and electric contactors being represented by some of the industry groups are thought to be in favour. The National Federation of Independent Business including some Republican government officials have applauded the U.S. Department of Labour for taking such proactive measures of widening health insurance options.
The U.S. General Accounting report published in the year 2004 shows that one hundred and forty-four association health plans between the year 2000 and 2002 had not been authorised to sell healthcare benefits operating across the country. The report further suggests that the above plans had purportedly provided coverage for at least 15,000 employers and had more than 200,000 policyholders. The total amount by the figures above means that they failed to pay at least $252 million in medical claims.
The ACA stopped most of these abuses by providing requirements which most association health plans and insurance companies were subjected to when selling to small businesses and individuals. The essential requirements of services under the Affordable Care Act were as follows: –
- To provide both Inpatient and Outpatient care
- Habilitative and rehabilitative services
- Maternity and newborn care
- Mental health and addiction treatment
- Laboratory Services
- Paediatric Services
- Chronic care treatment
- Prescription drugs