Friday, February 1, 2013
The Commonwealth Fund has recently reported on how states are lagging in implementing consumer protection aspects of the ACA. In case you are looking for a comprehensive overview of the options open to a state as it implements the MLR provisisons of the ACA, check out my colleague Tara Adams Ragone's policy brief "The Affordable Care Act and Medical Loss Ratios: Federal and State Methodologies." Though the piece focuses on New Jersey, its structure suggests the issues that will come up for many other states:
As part of sweeping health care reform in 2010, Congress established MLR requirements for health insurance issuers offering coverage in the group and individual health insurance markets, including grandfathered but not self-insured plans, hoping to increase the value consumers receive for their premiums and to improve transparency. Medical loss ratio refers to a measure of the percentage of premium dollars that a health insurance company spends on health care as distinguished from administrative expenses and profit, including advertising, marketing, overhead, salaries, and bonuses. Prior to the ACA, some states but not the Federal government regulated loss ratios. The new Federal MLR law, which went into effect on January 1, 2011, for the first time established a national MLR standard, which varies from existing state MLR requirements in important ways.
This Policy Brief analyzes the new Federal MLR requirements and how they intersect with and affect New Jersey law and its insurance markets. After providing background on medical loss ratios and highlighting the major similarities and differences between the existing Federal and New Jersey MLR regulatory schemes, this Brief examines several requirements and policy options that New Jersey must consider as it implements the Federal requirements. This Brief also includes appendices that provide more extensive details regarding the components of the Federal MLR requirements, New Jersey’s MLR legal structure, and research regarding experiences with loss ratios nationally and in New Jersey, pre- and post-the ACA.
My former student Ina Ilin-Schneider has also posted on the MLR, after authoring a very interesting paper on the state waivers granted (and denied) by HHS.
Finally, a quick note to recommend Ann Marie Marciarille's several recent posts at PrawfsBlawg on ACA implementation and health policy generally. It's hard to write about these topics gracefully and for a general audience, while conveying the expertise of a scholar. I think of her posts as real models on both counts.