PPA Weighs In on Health Care Exchanges
Health care will remain a hot-button issue for some time, and PPA is actively working to protect your ability to access quality and affordable care now and in the future. One of our primary efforts is making sure your needs are considered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as they continue to craft rules that will directly affect not only how you purchase health insurance as a small business, but also the quality of the plans the soon-to-open state health care exchanges will offer you.
On October 21, HHS accepted a second round of comments on their proposed framework for how such health care exchanges should operate. “Exchange” is the term used by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to describe a health care pool, or group, which will give small businesses and self-employed photographers a more affordable way to purchase coverage.
“We recognize the difficulties small-business owners face when purchasing and maintaining health insurance,” says David Trust, PPA’s chief executive officer. “The decision to protect the well-being of your family and that of your employees is one we hope will be made easier through these exchanges.”
PPA once again joined the Small Business Health Care Coalition in stressing the need for HHS to ensure that health care exchanges are favorable to small-business employers. In its comments, PPA focused on the following:
- Urging HHS to consider the inclusion of trade associations for eligibility as “navigators” to assist small businesses with enrollment.
- Urging HHS to ensure that the selection of “qualified health plans” provides a degree of flexibility regarding coverage options and price points.
- Warning of the potential for enrollment processes and possible hidden fees to create undue burden on small-business owners looking to provide affordable care options. (This includes asking HHS to ensure the exchanges assume a portion of the responsibility for accurate recordkeeping.)
- Reminding HHS of the importance of including members of the small business community and the self-employed in discussions regarding establishment and oversight of state-level exchanges.
Although a handful of states already have their own versions of health care exchanges or are in the process of establishing one, these HHS regulations will not go into effect until 2014 (as mandated by PPACA). Until then, photographers can access other options for affordable health care, such as tax credits, high-risk pools, and the current regulations that prevent health insurers from excluding applicants or assessing unreasonable premiums or premium increases.
We anticipate there will be additional opportunities to weigh in on exchange rules proposed by HHS. We will continue to bring you status updates, news of the input we have offered federal regulators, and other critical details that may affect your business and coverage.
In addition to representing members on copyright issues, PPA is a strong advocate on small business issues, primarily relating to health care. Through the Small Business Coalition for Affordable Healthcare, PPA advocates health care solutions that meet the needs of small business owners, employees, the self-employed and their families. In previous congressional sessions, PPA has supported various health reform bills, in particular those that would provide trade associations the ability to create insurance pools on behalf of its members.