CMS' ACA market stabilization rule: What the public thinks

CMS' proposed market stabilization rule has garnered quite a bit of attention from public commenters. 

Last week, CMS proposed a set of regulations intended to stabilize the individual and small group health insurance markets. The proposed rules included shortening enrollment periods, adjusting minimum standards to determine levels of coverage and expanding pre-enrollment verification for first-time enrollees. 

As of Feb. 23, the docket has garnered nearly 500 public comments from people across the country. Most of the comments oppose the proposed regulations, some calling it "horrible" and "just plain wrong," though some commenters wrote to express support for the proposal or portions of it.

One of the least popular provisions appears to be shortening the enrollment periods. For example, a family medicine physician from California submitted a public comment in opposition to some specific aspects of the rule, including the shortened enrollment period. "This makes no sense to me," she wrote. "We need as close to 100 percent participation as possible. People are still struggling to understand how to navigate this new system. I believe one more year of the extended enrollment period is important." 

An insurance broker from Pennsylvania wrote in opposition to this provision as well. "Moving the start of open enrollment from November 1 to November 17 will take away 12 business days that we use to help consumers enroll. Under the current open enrollment timeline we were still managing enrollments up until midnight each night from December 1 until December 19," he wrote

However, others supported the proposed changes. An anonymous commenter said, "Getting more Americans covered by healthcare is a major issue that this bill will hopefully help. One of the best ways to do that is to remove the burden of healthcare from an employer."  

Another anonymous commenter wrote in support of the proposed adjustments to the ACA's guaranteed availability provision, which safeguards coverage for a period of time when an enrollee stops paying premiums. The proposed change would allow payers to collect unpaid premiums before the patient can reenroll for another year of coverage. The commenter wrote, "I support this change. Unfortunately, there are individuals who have learned game the system, which ultimately impacts the rates for those playing by the rules. This change will help reduce upward pressure on premium[s]."

Read more comments here.


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