Not so Fast!

Do you remember when your baseball or football coach announced that you were going to be the starting player on the team and that you needed to play against the best team in the league?  You would practice, prepare and think about the how you would perform in the game.  Just the anticipation of playing and performing would keep you up at night thinking about the success you would have.

Then, the day of the game the coach explains that you would not be playing at all, but to be prepared when he or she calls you to play.  There is always a little bit of relief when this happens, but also a sense of, what just happened?  Well, the Federal Government (our coach) just did that to us!

Public comments forced regulators to amend the grandfathered-status rule under the health law, so employers with group health plans can switch to health insurers that provide similar coverage at a lower cost without losing their grandfathered status.

The Departments of HHS, Labor, and Treasury issued an amendment to interim final rules on grandfathered health plans under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  This new amendment allows employers to provide the same level of coverage through a new health plan carrier and keep their grandfathered status. The coverage under the new insurer must not significantly increase costs, reduce benefits levels or violate other provisions within the grandfathered-status regulations.

This only applies to group health and not individual plans.  Previously, plans could lose their grandfathered status if they implemented plan designs that reduced benefits or increased costs to members. In addition, an employer group health plan was labeled non-grandfathered compliant if the employer switched from one insurance company to another. Under PPACA, self-funded plans can only change third-party administrators without giving up their grandfathered status.

There are so many aspects of this new law that are changing on a weekly basis that it can be very overwhelming.  So, get your popcorn ready and play ball!

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