Busy week, huh?
Guess that’s what you get when you throw a bunch of insurance commissioners in a room and tell ‘em to figure out what Congress meant when they passed health care reform.
OK, well, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but it sure doesn’t feel like it this morning. The commissioners wrapped their latest meeting with a unanimous vote on what carriers can count as medical costs. This stems, of course, from health reform’s mandate that insurers spend at least 85 percent of premiums on medical costs for larger groups – 80 percent for small groups. (Anyone else think maybe this is one of those things we should have figured out before we made this thing law?)
The commissioners also managed to approve 10 out of 11 amendments, a rare display of unity in an increasingly fractured political climate. Course, they’re all regulators, aren’t they? Maybe we should be nervous about such regulatory harmony.
And all this just a couple of days after Health and Human Services Secretary handed out a whopping $46 million in grants to 45 states to more or less look at premiums. Shouldn’t they have been doing that already?
On an unrelated, somewhat telling side note, I called the HHS press room yesterday. Thought it might be nice to talk to the secretary, maybe even invite her to the Benefits Selling Expo in April. I’m sure more than a few of you would love to hear what she might have to say.
Anyway, told the woman who I was, what I wanted and when. Her response? A dial tone. She hung up on me. That right there is your government at work. For them, apparently, customer service isn’t a mandate.