Nebraska rejects PPACA relief offerNews added by Benefits Pro on March 26, 2014

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By Allison Bell

A Midwestern insurance regulator says all major medical insurance plans sold or renewed in his state after Jan. 1, 2014, must comply with Patient Protection and Affordable Care standards.

Bruce Ramge, the Nebraska insurance director, has notified health carriers that he thinks the Obama administration lacks the authority to let carriers renew policies that fail to comply with PPACA.

Many PPACA underwriting and benefits requirements took effect Jan. 1.

Officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said earlier this month that federal agencies will let states offer non-PPACA-compliant "transitional plans" up until Oct. 1, 2016.

State regulators and carriers can let individuals and small groups keep non-compliant policies in force and renew any non-compliant policies for one additional year until the end of the transitional relief period, officials said.

Federal agencies are making the relief available by agreeing not to find the transitional plans to be out of compliance with PPACA.

In November, HHS officials said transitional plan relief would be available up until Oct. 1, 2014.

Ramge rejected the earlier relief offer back in November, arguing that the offer had no legal effect for the purposes of insurance regulation in Nebraska.

"The department's position has not changed on this issue," Ramge wrote in a notice sent this week to Nebraska carriers.

HHS regulations allow non-compliant plans that were in force on March 23 to stay in force after Jan. 1, 2014, under a PPACA "grandfather" plan provision.

Ramge said his objections to the new class of transitional plans will have no effect on the grandfathered plans.

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