CMS Releases 2017 Rules for Health Insurance Exchanges

As the health insurance markets continue to evolve, CMS today released the final rule to set standards for plans and the health insurance marketplaces.

As the health insurance markets continue to evolve, CMS today released the final rule to set standards for plans and the health insurance marketplaces.

While the final rule does not include some aggressive proposals to standardize health plan options and impose minimum provider-network standards, it does include a provision to limit “surprise bills” to consumers.

“As the Health Insurance Marketplace continues to mature, we are able to focus on strategies that help it work even better for consumers and insurers,” Kevin Counihan, CEO of the Health Insurance Marketplaces, said in a statement. “That means making targeted improvements that keep the Marketplace working smoothly for consumers and keeps the Marketplace an attractive place to do business.”

The rule also finalizes open enrollment dates. In 2017 and 2018 the period will correspond to the recent open enrollment period and will begin November 1 and end of January 31 of the benefit year. Then in 2019, the period will shorten to November 1 through December 15.

Other changes that will support more informed consumer decisions include notifications when a provider network changes, options for insurers to offer plans with standardized cost-sharing structures, and a rating on HealthCare.gov of each plans relative network breadth.