Another week, another Yale Friday Newsletter! Enjoy.
By Hyeongsu Park and Kathy Wang
- 40 years after the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade, the legal fight over abortion continues on. Washington and Arkansas legislatures have been debating new restrictions on availability and coverage of such procedures by state and private insurance.
- In light of renewed concerns over gun control, there has been a focus on mental illness and corresponding health care. However, critics point out that this may be unfair, cautioning lawmakers to avoid making rushed decisions regarding mental health services.
- With Washington state introducing the possibility of introducing a ballot initiative to require the labeling of foods with genetically modified ingredients, major food companies and advocacy groups have been began pushing for a uniform system of food labeling.
- Biotechnology firms have been increasing their lobbying efforts to limit generic competition of their top-selling drugs, citing research costs, patient safety, and loss of revenue. Several states have already begun considering these proposals and acting upon them.
- Earlier this week, House Speaker Will Weatherford announced that in the coming session, lawmakers would finally reach a decision over expanding Medicaid in implementing the Affordable Care Act.
- Since the full legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington state, the decriminalization of marijuana at the state level has been a rising issue. Advocates of the legalization of marijuana have now turned to the possibility of influencing national legislation as well.
- After last week’s vote by the FDA to toughen the restrictions on certain painkillers, critics have immediately begun voicing their concerns that this action would not help drug addiction or overdose, and instead simply make it more difficult for patients to actually receive adequate dosages, leaving them in pain.
By: Katie Booth
Beginning in 2013, W-2s for firms who file at least 250 W-2 forms will list the amount of money that employers and employees spend on health insurance premiums. As the New York Times reports, “[t]o some, it will be a surprise, perhaps even a shock.” Many people insured through their employer have no idea how much health insurance actually costs. The W-2 provision will change this, providing a yearly reminder about how much employer compensation goes into health insurance rather than wages. This gives employees exactly one salient number about health care: the yearly cost of their employer-provided health insurance.
More information for consumers about the cost of health care is a good thing, but making the cost of health insurance more salient may have some unintended consequences. Employees will be better able to compare the benefits of jobs with higher salaries but no health insurance to jobs with lower salaries and health insurance. This may lead employees to opt for lower salary jobs with health insurance, which could help decrease the number of employees who seek government-subsidized health insurance. The W-2 provision could, however, have the opposite effect. Now that employees can easily compare the cost of employer-sponsored insurance to government-subsidized insurance, employees eligible for government-subsidized health insurance may buy insurance through an exchange and then opt for a higher-paying job that does not offer insurance. Employers may be willing to pay the tax penalty, which is much less than the cost of insurance.
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 1, 2013
|Contact: HHS Press Office
Administration issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on recommended preventive services policy
The Obama administration today issued proposed rules for public comment regarding contraceptive coverage with no cost sharing under the health care law. The proposed rules provide women with coverage for preventive care that includes contraceptive services with no co-pays, while also respecting the concerns of some religious organizations.
Today’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking reflects public feedback received through the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued in March 2012. In addition, these proposed rules are open for public comment through April 8, 2013.
“Today, the administration is taking the next step in providing women across the nation with coverage of recommended preventive care at no cost, while respecting religious concerns,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “We will continue to work with faith-based organizations, women’s organizations, insurers and others to achieve these goals.”
The proposed rules lay out how non-profit religious organizations, such as non-profit religious hospitals or institutions of higher education, that object to contraception on religious grounds can receive an accommodation that provides their enrollees separate contraceptive coverage, and with no co-pays, but at no cost to the religious organization.
With respect to insured plans, including student health plans, these religious organizations would provide notice to their insurer. The insurer would then notify enrollees that it is providing them with no-cost contraceptive coverage through separate individual health insurance policies.
With respect to self-insured plans, as well as student health plans, these religious organizations would provide notice to their third party administrator. In turn, the third party administrator would work with an insurer to arrange no-cost contraceptive coverage through separate individual health insurance policies.
Insurers and third party administrators would work to ensure a seamless enrollment process. The proposed rules lay out how the costs of both the insurer and the third party administrator would be covered, without any charge to either the religious organization or the enrollees.
Additionally, the proposed rules simplify and clarify the definition of “religious employer” for purposes of the exemption from the contraceptive coverage requirement. These employers, primarily houses of worship, can exclude contraception coverage from their health plans for their employees.
The proposed rules are available here: http://www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx
A fact sheet on today’s proposed rules is available here:
For more information on women’s preventive services and the Affordable Care Act, visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2011/08/womensprevention08012011a.html