Arizona Only State Not Taking Action on Affordable Care Act's Patient Bill of Rights

A new Commonwealth Fund report finds that all states — except Arizona — have taken steps to implement the healthcare reform law, such as passing legislation or regulations or actively reviewing insurer filings.

The report assesses states' actions on 10 early reforms, including those known collectively as the Patients' Bill of Rights, which went into effect in September 2010. The researchers found that between January 2010 and January 2012, 23 states and the District of Columbia had taken new legislative or regulatory action on at least one of these reforms, and an additional 26 states had taken other action to promote compliance with the reforms, such as issuing bulletins to insurers.

The 10 early reforms include expanding dependent coverage for young adults up to age 26, prohibiting lifetime limits on health benefits, covering preventive services without cost-sharing and allowing consumers to choose primary care providers and pediatricians.

The report specifically shows the following:

•    Twelve states, including Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Virginia, passed new legislation or issued new regulations that addressed all 10 of the reforms.
•    The District of Columbia and 11 states, including California, Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin, passed a new law or issued a new regulation on at least one early market reform.
•    Only Arizona had taken no action.

The authors identified a variety of reasons why states may have chosen to address only some of the early market reforms in new legislation or regulations. For instance, some states already had existing state laws that they viewed as consistent with the health reform law, while others took action only on reforms where their existing state laws were in direct conflict with the federal law.

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