Health Insurance Standards Modified
The administration issued new standards last week for health insurance to address complaints from consumers. The complaints are that the cost of insurance is too high, and the choice of physicians, hospitals and prescription drugs are limited. The administration will require insurers to provide a link from healthcare.gov to a current list of providers accepting new patients and the cost of prescription drugs.
Administration officials will review which products can be sold in the federal marketplace for 2015. There will be less reliance on state insurance regulators and private groups that accredit health plans.
Federal officials also said that insurance plans must not discriminate against people with “significant health needs.” The administration plans to analyze co-pays and requirements for “prior authorization.”
Consumer advocates welcomed the standards, but insurers and employer groups complained of burdensome overregulation. The federal government sets standards for insurers in the federal exchange, which serves about two-thirds of the nation’s population.