Q & A: Federal Guidance and Regulations Related to the ACA: An Update

Executive Summary

This Q&A provides an update on the status of federal regulations and guidance related to implementation of the ACA, with particular emphasis on pre-existing condition insurance pools and the status of insurance Exchanges.

Question: I understand that some provisions of the new federal health reform became effective as soon as the legislation went into effect in late March. And, I have heard that my state has already begun to implement some of the provisions that will be going into effect in upcoming years. Has the federal government promulgated regulations or issued other guidance about these provisions?
Short Answer: Yes. In the past several months, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have issued numerous guidance documents and proposed or interim regulations related to the federal health reform legislation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These items provide useful information about how important sections of the ACA will be implemented. And, they provide opportunities for advocates to have input about the details of the reformed health care system.
Long Answer
The Affordable Care Act contains dozens of provisions affecting a wide array of health issues, particularly insurance coverage and benefits that will be provided through private and public health insurance. 2 Most requirements will be expanded upon and interpreted by federal regulations and sub-regulatory material. Thus, the Department of Health and Human Services has been busy issuing guidance documents.
In this Q & A, we will discuss two recently issued federal documents: (1) interim final regulations implementing the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan Program; and (2) request for comments regarding provisions related to Health Insurance Exchanges that will be established in 2014.
 
This Q & A is one of many explanations and analyses that NHeLP will be issuing in the upcoming months. In addition, NHeLP will be preparing comments on various sets of regulations implementing the ACA and will circulate to NDRN?s listservs as they are drafted.

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