HHS issues 2019 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters

On Monday, April 9, 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services issued final regulations for Plan Year 2019!

Why is this important? Every year, changes to parameters that govern health insurance issuers are updated as required by the Affordable Care Act – HHS is in charge of updating and implementing these parameters.

Below is some of the notable changes for 2019:

2019 out-of-pocket (OOP) maximums:
The 2019 OOP maximums increase to $7,900 for individual coverage and $15,800 for family coverage. These coverage limits apply to all non-grandfathered plans, regardless of size or funding type.

Marketplace regulations 
The final rule also includes a number of provisions (effective Jan. 1, 2019) intended to strengthen the Health Insurance Marketplace, including:

  • Deferring the network adequacy reviews for qualified health plan (QHP) certification to the states
  • Loosening the audit process for agents, brokers and issuers who participate in the direct enrollment process
  • Updating the risk adjustment model for insurers with high-cost enrollees
  • Modifying the requirements for Marketplaces to verify eligibility for, and enrollment in, qualifying employer-sponsored coverage
  • Not specifying 2019 standardized plan options (known as simple choice plans)
  • Updating special enrollment period (SEP) rules for coverage effective dates specific to SEPs that allow adding or changing dependents
  • Adding a new SEP for pregnant women who were receiving coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) but lose that access
  • Allowing Marketplaces to determine individual affordability exemptions based on affordability of the lowest-cost metal level plan available
  • Allowing enrollees to request same-day termination of coverage
  • Removing several Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) requirements for online enrollment
  • Other market reforms
    In addition to Marketplace updates, the final rules also modify other ACA provisions, including:

Streamlining the rate review process for states and issuers, including when rates are posted by the states, increasing the threshold at which rate increases require review from 10% to 15%, and establishing a process for states to request a higher threshold
Modifying the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) rules, including simplifying quality improvement activity reporting requirements for issuers and establishing a process for states to use to request adjustments to the 80% MLR standard in the individual market

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