Executive order issued; HHS issues new rule on contraceptive coverage; we’ll monitor ‘repeal and replace’ efforts and send Reform Insights as needed

Trump issues executive order

This morning, President Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to make it easier to:

  • Create association health plans
  • Remove restrictions on selling association plans across state lines
  • Remove barriers to short-term plans
  • Increase flexibility for employers and employees in the use of health reimbursement arrangements

Additionally, the order will direct agencies to examine state and federal policies that lead to higher health care costs.

Nothing has changed at this time. We will continue to keep you updated when departments issue related regulations.

HHS releases new rule on contraceptive coverage

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a new rule on October 6 that allows flexibility on contraception coverage mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

The new regulation allows a broader group of employers and insurers to claim religious or moral exemption from covering contraceptives, such as birth control pills.

Blue Cross is evaluating what effect this may have on our customers as well as our approach to this issue.

Is Congress still working on health care reform?

The 2017 budget reconciliation bill expired on September 30. New reconciliation instructions may include health care reform in the fiscal year 2018 budget. The reconciliation process could still be an avenue for efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Legislators are still discussing various proposals for health care reform, but are also addressing additional priorities, such as:

  • Children’s Health Insurance Program reauthorization
  • Continuing resolution (a temporary appropriation for specified federal government operations, personnel, equipment and activities)
  • Debt ceiling
  • Budget appropriations
  • Tax reform
  • Immigration reform
  • Disaster relief

We’ll continue to monitor events and activities about health care reform.

Reform Insights will be published on an as-needed basis going forward to keep you informed of any important developments