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Emma Arroyo is an associate in the Corporate Practice Group in the firm's Orange County office.

As we previewed last year regarding SB 184 and the establishment of the California Office of Health Care Affordability (OHCA), California now has taken a significant regulatory step aimed at restraining growth in health care costs. On April 24, 2024, OHCA’s board (the “Board”) voted to implement its long anticipated statewide health care cost target, beginning with a 3.5% cap on spending growth in 2025 and decreasing in the following years. As with OHCA’s cost and market impact review (CMIR) reporting regime,[1] this cap will apply to “health care entities,” which include providers such as hospitals, facilities, outpatient clinics, large physician groups and clinical laboratories, payors and fully integrated delivery systems.Continue Reading California is Capping Health Care Cost Increases – Starting at 3.5% in 2025

On March 28, 2024, the Biden-Harris Administration released final rules intended to lower health care costs and protect consumers from being induced into purchasing so-called “junk insurance” policies (the “Final Rules”).[1] According to the press release, the Final Rules are intended to close loopholes that have permitted “junk insurance” issuers to mislead consumers into buying highly restricted and discriminatory plans that provide inadequate coverage when consumers need it the most. The Final Rules primarily realign federal definitions with intended scopes of coverage and increase transparency to allow consumers to make informed, beneficial choices about their health coverage for enhanced consumer protection.Continue Reading Closing the Loopholes: The Biden-Harris Administration’s Action Against “Junk Insurance”

On March 28, 2024, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced that it is extending the temporary special enrollment period (the Unwinding SEP) for prior beneficiaries of Medicaid and Medicaid-expansion Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace (Marketplace). The Unwinding SEP was previously scheduled to terminate on July 31, 2024, but now the end date is extended to November 30, 2024. This 4-month extension will help millions maintain insurance coverage as they navigate their new post-pandemic eligibility statuses.Continue Reading Continuity in Coverage: CMS Extends the Unwinding SEP & Issues Final Rule for Medicaid and CHIP Enrollment

On November 24, 2023, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published a proposed rule to modify certain Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) standards that apply to issuers and Marketplaces, as well as requirements for agents, brokers, web-brokers, direct enrollment entities, and assisters that help Marketplace consumers (the “Proposed Rule”).[1] These modifications are intended to further the Biden Administration’s goals of advancing health equity by addressing disparities in access to quality care while minimizing administrative burdens and ensuring program integrity.Continue Reading CMS Promotes Health Equity through Marketplace Standards and More in New Proposed Rule

On March 30, Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a decision in Braidwood Management Inc. v. Becerra (“Braidwood”), invalidating the Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA’s”) mandate requiring health plans and health insurers offering health insurance coverage to provide coverage for preventative care services recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (“USPSTF”). The case was pursued by religious individuals and businesses that asserted that they were harmed by being required to pay for health insurance coverage which included services that they do not want to cover on religious grounds.Continue Reading Navigating the Wild West of the New ACA Preventative Care Ruling

On August 10, 2021, the Senate passed H.R. 3684, a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure bill (the “Infrastructure Bill”) that authorizes funds for federal-aid highways, transit, broadband access and other infrastructure purposes.  Notably, the Infrastructure Bill is paid for in part through changes to several healthcare policies, including delaying a Medicare Part D rebate rule for an additional three years and reducing Medicare payment amounts to providers.  The Infrastructure Bill’s changes to healthcare policies provide a mixed impact to health care industry stakeholders, with both expected benefits and burdens to providers, payers, and drug manufacturers.
Continue Reading The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: Potential Impact on Healthcare Policy and Spending