Friday, April 23, 2010

Internet Portal for Health Coverage Information

(Note : For the next few weeks, Health Reform Talk will focus on detailed explanations for specific provisions in the new health reform law. Click here for previous post.)

So what’s included in Sec. 1103 of the Affordable Care Act, concerning the creation of an Internet portal for health coverage information?

An Internet portal is established to help beneficiaries and small businesses identify affordable health insurance coverage options in each state. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must establish this Internet portal no later than July 1, 2010.

The Internet portal must, to the extent practicable, provide ways for residents of any state to receive information on at least the following coverage options:

  • health insurance coverage offered by issuers (excluding coverage that only provides for the treatment of a single disease or conditions (i.e., cancer insurance); or an unreasonably limited set of diseases and conditions (as determined by the HHS);
  • Medicaid coverage;
  • coverage under the state Children’s Health Insurance Program;
  • coverage under the state’s health benefits high risk pool, if one exists in the state;
  • coverage under the high risk pool, as created under Sec. 1101 of the Affordable Care Act; and
  • coverage within the small group market for small businesses and their employees.

The Web site is required to provide information on eligibility, availability, premium rates, cost sharing, and the percentage of total premium revenues spent on health care, rather than administrative expenses, by the issuer. The information must be presented in a standardized format, which the HHS must establish no later than 60 days after the date of enactment. The HHS may contract with qualified entities to establish the Web site.

Effective date. This provision is effective on the date of enactment (March 23, 2010).

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