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NAIC to Focus on Health Reform on Visit to the White House

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Planned meeting with President Obama focuses on the implementation of PPACA.

(Washington, DC) — Commissioner Gennet Purcell, Esq., of the DC Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) today joined 34 state insurance commissioners from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in a meeting with President Barack Obama. Commissioner Purcell participated in a joint discussion on the role of the states in the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

“State insurance departments play a critical role in keeping their local community informed of the impact of PPACA on their health care needs,” said Commissioner Purcell. “PPACA was created and enacted to increase access to health care and make it affordable for everyone. Understanding the new provisions is especially critical for District residents who should reassess their health insurance needs under PPACA and make appropriate choices as various open enrollment seasons become available.”

In May 2010, Mayor Adrian Fenty appointed Commissioner Purcell as one of two co-chairs for the District’s Health Reform Implementation Committee, which held two public meetings in the last two months. The other co-chair is Dr. Julie Hudman of the Department of Health Care Finance. The other two members on the committee are Dr. Pierre Vigilance of the Department of Health and Clarence Carter at the Department of Human Services. The committee’s function is to advise the mayor on implementation of the health care reform laws, and to coordinate its execution in the District of Columbia.

Today’s meeting included Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis as well as top Administration advisors from the White House, including Assistant to the President for Special Projects Stephanie Cutter, and Counselor to the President and Director of the Office of Health Reform, Nancy-Ann DeParle.

During the meeting, the President stressed the need for consumers to have adequate information on changes as they occur. He acknowledged the important role of state regulators in implementing reform and educating the public. Sept. 23 marks the six-month anniversary of the signing of PPACA, and an important milestone as early provisions of the legislation start to take effect, tomorrow. Insurance commissioners addressed the important role states will play in enforcing a number of provisions of PPACA, and discussed the overall implementation of the federal reform act. Some of these provisions include:

  • Elimination of lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits;
  • Elimination of certain annual lifetime dollar limits for essential benefits;
  • Elimination of pre-existing condition exclusions for enrollees under age 19;
  • Prohibition of rescissions except in the case of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of fact; and
  • Extension of dependent coverage for most adult children up to age 26.

According to a new survey by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), only 14 percent of surveyed consumers identified the first set of provisions as taking effect on Sept. 23, 2010.

To learn more about health care reform including the new provisions and their effective dates, District residents are encouraged to contact DISB by calling (202) 727-8000 or visit http://www.disb.dc.gov/.