Yesterday the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) held one of several “listening sessions” in the city to gather general verbal feedback on the proposed regulations for the forthcoming health insurance Exchanges.
In attendance were consumer advocates (including 8 HCFANY member orgs) and insurance industry representatives from across the northeast (HHS regions I, II and III, if you must know).
For the most part, everyone in attendance seemed to generally agree that maximizing and streamling consumer enrollment will be of utmost importance, and that to do so will require a concerted effort by many different entities.
Consumer advocates in attendance also focused on the need for more defined regulations, on the basis that flexibility in regulations can often be mistaken for permissiveness, and that the exchange regulations should include strong provisions to prevent anyone with a conflict of interest from serving on an Exchange board. Namely, anyone who has a financial interest in board decisions should not be allowed to serve on a board.
Insurance industry representatives largely praised the flexibility given to states in the proposed regulations and felt that it was important to have health insurance plans represented on Exchange boards.
HHS representatives in attendance were receptive and engaging, but stressed the importance of submitting comments to them in written form and that ALL comments are welcome. HCFANY will be submitting its own comments in advance of next week’s September 28 deadline, so be sure to keep an eye out for that!