HHS, the DOL and the Treasury have announced the publication of final regulations implementing a 90 day limit on waiting periods for health coverage. The Departments have also published proposed regulations that would limit the maximum duration of an otherwise permissible orientation period to one month. Both the final and proposed regulations will be published in the Federal Register on February 24, 2014.

The long awaited final regulations on the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions of PPACA (the Employer Mandate) have been issued! They will be published in the Federal Register on 2/12/14. At first glance, one significant modification is that mid-sized employers (50-99 employees) have until 2016 to comply.

I apologize in advance…here goes my rant….Dear God!!! (and yes, I am praying)

Are you kidding me President Obama! Your “fix” is that insurers can choose to reinstate the policies that were cancelled – the cancelled policies can be renewed – they just need to notify insureds what their plans do not include. Are you removing yourself from the political heat by placing the onus on the insurers?!? Please know that the policies in the marketplace don’t even ‘notify insureds what their plans do not include’ – the plans aren’t available…only the summaries (SBC) that state in the exclusions section to review the plan or policy which you can’t do because they are not available.

With regard to the 106,00 that have enrolled in the marketplace, Obama states that these people now have ‘quality affordable healthcare.’ Let’s see the stats! Is it not likely that these are the folks that had their policies cancelled and are now paying MORE for their coverage?!?

Yes I agree with you … the rollout was “rough so far” and has a “whole range of problems” but the ‘fix’ did nothing but pass the buck.

Obama is scheduled to make an announcement today of a ‘fix‘ that will address all of the plan cancellations. Stay tuned! Will you get to keep your plan after all?!?

DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has finally announced enrollment numbers for the Exchange Marketplace. As individuals across the country continue to receive notices that they will no longer have coverage, only 106,000 individuals have actually selected a marketplace option. Of the 106,000 approximately 75% of those individuals opted into a federally facilitated exchange and the remainder have opted into a state based exchange. I will let you do the math! It will be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of months!!

With the narrowing of competition in the marketplace and the requirements imposed by Obamacare, friends, family and colleagues across the country are reaching out to me with copies of the letters they have received recently either informing them that their insurance policy will be terminating or that their existing premium will be increasing significantly. An unintended consequence or perhaps the ultimate plan taking shape – forcing Americans in to a single payer system?!?

System-wide testing should have been an critical step in the process. A critical misstep?!? A preview of coming attractions in the Marketplace?

“We’re going to be gifted with a health care plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don’t, which purportedly covers at least 10 million more people without adding a single new doctor, but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that didn’t read it, but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a president who smokes … same sentence … with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, for which we will be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect by the government, which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare — all to be overseen by a Surgeon General who is obese, and financed by a country that’s broke.” –

Was Obamacare created to fail so that we would ultimately end up with a single-payer system?

The majority of American employees are covered under a self-insured plan, roughly 61%! Self-insurance works and it is essential. It allows employers the flexibility to design a benefit package that meets the needs of his/her employees. Yet again, we have a fight on our hands to defend and preserve self-insurance.

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal on 9/12/13 that discusses the latest attack on self-insurance. There is a considerable amount of time being spent on attempting to chip away at ERISA, self-funding and access to stop-loss coverage. Wasn’t the fundamental goal of Obamacare to have everyone covered?

On August 29th, 2013, the Committee on Energy & Commerce distributed letters to certain organizations that were awarded nearly $67 million in Navigator Cooperative Agreements to assist consumers with enrollment in the PPACA marketplace. The letters are seeking very detailed information from the Navigators and their written responses are due by September 13, 2013. The content of the information they are seeking makes one wonder what type of inquiry was done before the $67 million was awarded…”[p]rovide a written description of the work that will be performed with the funds obtained…”.