The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued three proposed rules implementing provisions in the Affordable Care Act. The rules are set to become effective in 2014. The rules outline the following:
- Health insurance companies are prohibited from discriminating against individuals because of a pre-existing or chronic condition. Under this rule, insurance companies would be allowed to vary premiums within limits, only based on age, tobacco use, family size, and geography. Health insurance companies would be prohibited from denying coverage to any American because of a pre-existing condition or from charging higher premiums to certain enrollees because of their current or past health problems, gender, occupation, and small employer size or industry.
- The second proposed rule outlines policies and standards for coverage of essential health benefits, while giving states more flexibility to implement the Affordable Care Act. This would give consumers a consistent way to compare health plans in the individual and small group markets.
- The third proposed rule implements and expands employment-based wellness programs to promote health and help control health care spending, while ensuring that individuals are protected from unfair underwriting practices that could otherwise reduce benefits based on health status.