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March 2011 St@teside

Proposed Rules on Innovation Waivers Announced

On March 10, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the new proposed rules for the State Innovation Waivers, authorized under Section 1332 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

State Innovation Waivers are designed to allow states to implement alternative coverage programs that differ from those included in the ACA. In order to apply for a waiver, states will be required to pass legislation authorizing the waiver request as well as comply with federal regulations on public notice and transparency. Furthermore, state proposals must:

  • Provide coverage that is at least as comprehensive as the coverage offered through health insurance exchanges;
  • Make coverage at least as affordable as it would have been through the exchanges;
  • Provide coverage to at least as many residents as otherwise would have been covered under the ACA; and
  • Not increase the federal deficit.

The waivers will be available in 2017. However, if the bipartisan legislation, “The Empowering States to Innovate Act,” is passed by Congress, states will be able to submit the waiver requests starting in 2014.

Public comments on the proposed rules are due to HHS and the U.S. Department of Treasury by May 13, 2011.