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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Hospitals Seek To Help With Obamacare Premiums

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But it has been less clear about the role hospitals and other health care providers might play.

Last October, a letter from the administration to Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., indicated that hospitals and drugmakers could help subsidized policyholders pay their premiums.

But that was quickly followed by a Nov. 4 online FAQ discouraging such “third party payments” by hospitals and others because they could “skew the risk pool.”

After protests by patient groups, another advisory said insurers could also accept premium payments from not-for-profit foundations which set financial eligibility criteria and do not consider enrollees’ health status.

An interim final rule in March left out any mention of payments by charitable foundations, although it reiterated concern about payments made directly by hospitals.

Both the insurance industry and hospital groups are seeking clarification.

AHIP, the insurers’ trade lobby, has asked the government not to allow hospital-affiliated foundations to run aid programs. The funds “must be donated to a legally independent foundation that is separate from the organization with a potential financial interest,” AHIP said.

The hospital industry, meanwhile, wants insurers to be required to accept premium payments made by health systems as well as by their foundations.

“Any effort to limit the ability of hospitals or hospital-affiliated foundations to help individuals in need to obtain access to health insurance coverage is bad public policy,” wrote Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association. 

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Wed, Aug 13 2014

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