Our current political climate celebrates All or Nothing. You are either on my side, for every issue, or you’re on the other side, one of the bad guys. There is little to be gained by that thinking. Over the long haul we are better served by finding ways where we can work together, to find middle ground, to search for just one victory on the path to a greater good. Today is one of those days to celebrate a win.
My March 4th post, (Un)Comfortably Numb, detailed my annual trip to Washington DC and my meetings with members of Congress and their staffs. As noted, my fellow insurance agents and I felt more welcomed this year, as if there was a general consensus that the status quo was no longer acceptable to any of the participants. Our credibility, our reputation as problem solvers with a long history of representing our clients in this battle, helped our elected officials focus on issues that we were bringing to their attention.
Many of us were particularly concerned with Transitional Relief, the ability to retain health insurance policies written and issued in 2010 after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was passed until the end of 2013 when the law was fully implemented. Many of us are dependent on our ability to retain these policies, both group and individual contracts, and wait nervously for the annual announcement. We were in Washington at the end of February. Last year’s announcement had been in early February. Would the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) remember us this year or drop the ball?
This blog has mentioned the assistance my clients and I have received from Senator Sherrod Brown’s office, both with problems on the Federal Marketplace as well as with specific issues. One of the Senator’s senior legislative aides, a woman who specializes in public health financing, has met with us the last couple of times we were in Washington. We have kept in touch. She has a real interest in our issues and has sought our input about improving the PPACA. I sent a follow-up email to her yesterday morning. This was her response:
It’s like your ears were ringing! CMS just finalized the NBPP for this coming year and extended the transitional plans for another year. More information can be found here: https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2018-Fact-sheets-items/2018-04-09.html and here: https://www.cms.gov/CCIIO/Resources/Regulations-and-Guidance/Downloads/Extension-Transitional-Policy-Through-CY2019.pdf. Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can get you any additional information.
I’m still trying to learn more about the COBRA issue – I think one way we might be able to do a better job of making sure folks don’t fall into this trap is by better educating individuals as they get closer to Medicare eligibility. What do you think?
SUCCESS! The links will take you to the CMS documents. The key for so many of us is the granting of Transitional Relief for another year. There is our victory.
There is also a link to five pages of modifications for 2019. Some appear to be purely cosmetic. Some of the changes may move us forward while others may serve to further destabilize the markets. It is way too early to predict how these changes will be interpreted by the various states. That will need to wait until we see what actions Idaho, Iowa, and others take based on these rules.
We go to Washington and Columbus to help our legislators understand how our clients are impacted by their laws, their rules, and their regulations. Today we celebrate a victory.
Picture – The Road To Victory – David L Cunix