Filed under: Dependent Children, Groups (100+ Employees), Groups (2-50 Employees), Groups (51-99 Employees), Individuals and Families. Tagged as: Dependent Children Under 26, disclosure statements, grandfathered plans, group health insurance, pre-existing conditions, preventive services.
The DOL, HHS, and IRS jointly issued another set of FAQs (Part V) regarding implementation of the market reform provision Affordable Care Act, with topics including auto-enrollment in group health plans, summary of benefit disclosure requirements to group health plan participants, grandfathered plans, dependents to age 26 requirements, preexisting condition requirements for children in individual health policies, and value-based insurance design in connection with preventive care benefits. The update also includes FAQs regarding implementation of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) and HIPAA’s nondiscrimination requirements as they relate to group wellness programs. For simplicity, only the questions are included below. You may view the government’s response here or read our previous blog articles regarding FAQs Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.
Value-Based Insurance Design in Connection with Preventive Care Benefits
Q1: My group health plan does not impose a copayment for colorectal cancer preventive services when performed in an in-network ambulatory surgery center. In contrast, the same preventive service provided at an in-network outpatient hospital setting would generally require a $250 copayment. Is this permissible under PHS Act section 2713?
Automatic Enrollment in Health Plans
Q2: The Affordable Care Act amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by adding a new section 18A, requiring employers with more than 200 full-time employees to automatically enroll new full-time employees in the employer’s health benefits plans and continue enrollment of current employees. What Agency is responsible for guidance under this new FLSA provision?
Q3: When do employers have to comply with the new automatic enrollment requirements in section 18A of the FLSA?
Disclosure under PHS Act section 2715(d)(4)
Q4: When are group health plans and health insurance issuers required to comply with the notice requirement in PHS Act section 2715 (d)(4), which generally requires a 60-day prior notice for material modifications to the plan or coverage?
Dependent Coverage of Children to Age 26
Q5: My group health plan normally charges a copayment for physician visits that do not constitute preventive services. The plan charges this copayment to individuals age 19 and over, including employees, spouses, and dependent children, but waives it for those under age 19. Is this permissible?
Preexisting Condition Exclusions for Children in the Individual Market
Q6: Some States have expressed an interest in permitting issuers to screen applicants for eligibility for alternative coverage options before offering a child-only policy. Is this allowed?
Grandfathered Health Plans
Q7: My plan terms include out-of-pocket spending limits that are based on a formula (a fixed percentage of an employee’s prior year compensation). If the formula stays the same, but a change in earnings results in a change to the out-of-pocket limits such that the change exceeds the thresholds allowed under paragraph (g)(1) of the interim final regulations relating to grandfathered health plans, will my plan relinquish grandfather status?
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008
Q8: After the amendments made by the Affordable Care Act, are small employers still exempt from the MHPAEA requirements? How is “small employer” defined?
Q9: I am an in-network health care provider and one of my patients is having trouble getting benefits paid for a mental health condition or substance use disorder. Am I entitled to receive a copy of the criteria for medical necessity determinations made by the patient’s plan or health insurance coverage?
Q10: I was denied benefits for mental health treatment by my plan because the plan determined that the treatment was not medically necessary. I requested and received a copy of the criteria for medical necessity determinations for mental health and substance use disorder treatment, and the reason for denial. I think my plan is applying medical necessity standards more strictly to benefits for mental health and substance use disorder treatment than for medical/surgical benefits. How can I obtain information on the medical necessity criteria used for medical/surgical benefits?
Q11: MHPAEA contains an increased cost exemption. How does a plan claim this exemption?
Nondiscrimination Based on a Health Factor and Wellness Programs
Q12: Are all employment-based wellness programs required to check for compliance with the HIPAA nondiscrimination provisions?
Q13: My group health plan gives an annual premium discount of 50 percent of the cost of employee-only coverage to participants who adhere to a wellness program which consists of attending a monthly health seminar. Does this reward violate the HIPAA nondiscrimination regulations?
Q14: My group health plan gives an annual premium discount of 20 percent of the cost of employee-only coverage to participants who adhere to a wellness program. The wellness program consists of giving an annual cholesterol exam to participants; participants who achieve a cholesterol count of 200 or lower receive the annual premium discount. The plan also provides that if it is unreasonably difficult or medically inadvisable to achieve the targeted cholesterol count within a 60-day period, the plan will make available a reasonable alternative standard that takes the relevant medical condition into account. Does this wellness program violate the HIPAA nondiscrimination regulations?
Q15: My group health plan offers two different wellness programs, both of which are offered to all full-time employees enrolled in the plan. The first program requires participants to take a cholesterol test and provides a 20 percent premium discount for every individual with cholesterol counts under 200. The second program reimburses participants for the cost of a monthly membership to a fitness center. If I participate in both wellness programs and receive both rewards (the 20 percent premium discount and the reimbursement for the cost of a fitness center membership), is my plan violating the HIPAA nondiscrimination regulations?