Academy activities, legislative/regulatory updates, and more.

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October 12, 2016

Academy Activities

The Risk Sharing Subcommittee and the Premium Review Work Group submitted a letter on Oct. 6 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding the proposed rule for 2018 benefit and payment parameters. The comments address proposed changes to risk sharing mechanisms, market reforms, and rate review provisions.

The Health Practice Council sent letters late last month to the U.S. House and Senate on potential adverse consequences of legislation to weaken the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate.

Legislative/Regulatory Updates

check markThe U.S. House of Representatives last month passed H.R. 3590, the Halt Tax Increases on the Middle Class and Seniors Act, which would repeal a revenue provision of the ACA that aims to alleviate out of pocket medical expenses. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate, S. 3111, the Seniors Tax Hike Prevention Act of 2016.

check markThe House also passed H.R. 954, the CO-OP Consumer Protection Act of 2016, which would temporarily exempt from the individual mandate anyone whose Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) coverage is terminated mid-year. It would also remove any tax penalty for individuals who do not have health coverage.

Annual Meeting to Feature MACRA Session

Health breakout sessions at the Academy’s Annual Meeting and Public Policy Forum being held Nov. 3-4 in Washington will feature discussions of key issues including Medicare, the ACA, and prescription drug costs. Register today to attend; regular registration rates are available through Friday, Oct. 21. The Academy believes the agenda will enable attendees to earn up to 12 hours of organized-activity continuing education credits (CE), depending on area of practice, and up to 1.8 hours of professionalism CE credits.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt will give the opening plenary address on Thursday, Nov. 3. Following that, a session on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) will be moderated by Shari Westerfield, vice chairperson of the Health Practice Council. Panelists will include former U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, president of the Better Medicare Alliance; Robert Berenson of the Urban Institute; and CMS’s Molly MacHarris.

Rx Cost—Controlling the Costs will look at what is driving prescription drug prices, and options for addressing those increases. It will be moderated by Audrey Halvorson, chairperson of the Health Care Delivery Committee, and will include Gerard Anderson of Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and Len Nichols of George Mason University.

Update on ACA Implementation will be moderated by Catherine Murphy-Barron, vice president of the Health Practice Council, and will include Alfred Bingham Jr. of the CMS’s Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) and CCIIO officials Brent Plemons, Jeff Wu, and Allison Yadsko.

Global Health Webinar Looks at France, United Kingdom

Attendees from 15 countries listened to the Oct. 5 webinar on the health care systems of France and the United Kingdom. Part of the global health care webinar series presented jointly by the Academy’s Health Practice International Committee and the International Actuarial Association Health Section, the webinar’s panel looked at major cost drivers in both countries, the outlook for reform/changes, and actuaries’ roles in their health care financing systems. Slides and audio are available online for members free of charge.

In the News / Media Activities

Insurance News Net published a House member’s floor statement that notes the Academy’s analysis of the potential consequences of weakening the ACA’s individual mandate.

A Health Affairs Blog post discussing the ACA’s temporary reinsurance program and its effect on individual market premiums cited the Academy’s issue brief on the major drivers of 2016 premium changes.

A California Broker article on projected health premium increases announced by Covered California, the state’s official ACA marketplace, cites the Academy’s issue brief on 2017 health insurance premium drivers. The Sierra Sun Times also cites the issue brief, as did an op-ed in the Wisconsin Gazette, and the Herald Journal (North Logan, Utah).

Reminder: Health Care ‘Actuarial Challenge’

The Academy is helping to promote and coordinate a collaborative Actuarial Challenge, being conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in conjunction with Milliman Inc. It is an opportunity for actuaries to provide innovative ideas and proposals to increase stability in the individual health insurance market. The challenge runs through April 2017; visit the Actuarial Challenge website for more information.

Limited Space Remains for Next Month’s LHQ Seminar

Limited spaces remain available for the Academy’s 2016 Life and Health Qualifications Seminar, to be held Nov. 13-17 in Arlington, Va. (Washington, D.C., area). The seminar will include sessions on health insurance valuation; premium, loss, expense, and contingency reserves; risk-based capital; and professionalism. Attendees can earn up to 27 hours of CE, including up to 2.7 professionalism hours. Register today for this highly regarded seminar.