3-2-12 Affordable Care Act Update
Earlier today, the Senate voted on an amendment introduced by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) called the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act that would allow any health insurance plan or employer, with a religious affiliation or not, to exclude any service required by the Affordable Care Act if they object based on undefined "religious beliefs or moral convictions." The implications of this provision could result in coverage denials of life-saving preventive services such as mammograms or tobacco cessation based on employer discretion. The amendment failed 51-48.
Read ACS CAN's letter and press release opposing the amendment:
A new fact sheet from the Kaiser Family Foundation explains how the Medical Loss Ratio provision under the ACA will affect health insurers and consumers. The provision requires most insurance companies that cover individuals and small businesses to spend at least 80 percent of their premium dollars on health care (i.e. medical claims) and quality improvement, leaving no more than 20 percent for administration, marketing, and profit. Large group plans must spend at least 85 percent of premium dollars on health care. Insurers failing to meet these standards will have to pay rebates to consumers beginning later this year.
The attached fact sheet details how the Medical Loss Ratio is calculated under the ACA, identifies states that have obtained permission to use an adjusted Medical Loss Ratio during a transition period, and provides information regarding how the consumer rebate process will work.
The fact sheet is available at: http://www.kff.org/healthreform/8282.cfm .
Essential Health Benefits Conference
On Tuesday, ACS CAN brought together some of the nation's leading health care experts at its first ever National Forum on the Future of Health Care to examine the essential health benefits provision in the Affordable Care Act, which requires all health plans to offer patients a minimum standard of benefits beginning in 2014.
ACS CAN believes the essential benefits provision is one of the most critical insurance reforms in the Affordable Care Act, with the potential to give patients the security of knowing that their health plan will cover proven methods to prevent and treat cancer as well as to provide necessary follow-up care. ACS CAN strongly supported its inclusion in the law to ensure that cancer patients and survivors have adequate insurance coverage to assure access to lifesaving care.
The conference provided valuable insights on how ACS CAN and the public may ensure the success of the essential health benefits package for patients nationwide.
Numerous issues were examined at the forum, including:
- What health care services will be included?
- How will essential benefits improve care while containing costs?
- What role do the states have in defining essential benefits for their citizens?
- How can all patients nationwide be assured of access to basic care and innovations that are helping to save lives?
Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius was the keynote speaker at the day-long conference. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick spoke from his vantage point as the leader of a state that enacted its own health reform law in 2006. Former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, who served as HHS Secretary under President George W. Bush, was the luncheon speaker.
In addition to the featured speakers, top officials from federal and state government, the health care industry, non-profit organizations, academia, and the media were on hand for panel discussions on the provision's wide ranging impact. For more information about the conference, including media coverage of the event and the agenda that lists all of the speakers, panelists, and panel topics, please visit acscan.org. .
As always, thank you for all you do every day to support laws and policies that help cancer patients and their families.
Chris Hansen | President
ACS Cancer Action Network | American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc.