CMS Seeks Public Input for Affordable Care Act

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seeking help to improve the future of the insurance marketplaces.

Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a request for information regarding improvements that could be made to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

As the ACA faces potential repeal, the CMS is asking the public to submit ideas for creating a more stabilized marketplace. Specifically, they are looking for innovative approaches that will result in individual and small group markets that are flexible and streamlined, according to a press release.

Through public input, the CMS hopes to identify and remove outdated, ineffective, or unnecessary regulations. They also aim to prevent the implementation of costs that exceed benefits or create inconsistencies that interfere with efforts to reform the health law, according to the release.

Individuals who have purchased insurance on ACA exchanges have recently faced high premiums. As a result of unexpectedly high costs, many insurers have withdrawn from the marketplaces, leaving many individuals with few or no coverage options.

A report from the Department of Health and Human Services found that the average premium from states using Healthcare.gov increased from $232 in 2013 to $476 in 2017, which is a 105% increase.

GOP lawmakers have used high premiums and insurer withdrawal as evidence that the ACA must be repealed and replaced with legislation that will stabilize the insurance marketplace. The House-passed American Health Care Act aims to reduce premiums and improve healthcare for all Americans, according to GOP legislators. While the Senate bill has yet to be introduced, it is likely to be voted on soon.

The request for information is the latest step taken by the CMS to help improve healthcare, including issuing a rule to stabilize the marketplace, according to the release. The CMS said that this rule will limit special enrollment, decrease premiums, and improve choices for patients, while reducing regulatory burden.

“We are looking for valuable feedback on how to change existing regulations in ways that put patients first, promote greater consumer choice, enhance affordability and return more control over healthcare to the States,” said Seema Verma, CMS administrator. “Through this step, CMS is asking consumers to send us innovative ideas that will help stabilize and strengthen the individual and small group health insurance markets.”