Some health plans exempted from some reform rules

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 21, 2010

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The Dept. of Health and Human Services on June 14 issued a new "grandfather" regulation that exempts some existing plans from a number of new regulations under the health reform law.

Health reform will prohibit all health plans from imposing certain benefits limits on consumers or dropping them when they get sick. But plans that were in operation on March 23 can continue to make "routine and modest" changes to enrollees' cost-sharing in an effort to contain costs and keep pace with medical inflation. A plan can lose its grandfather status if it implements cuts or cost hikes that the administration deems excessive.

HHS officials said the regulation heeds President Obama's pledge that if people like their current health plans, they can keep them under health reform. But Republicans accused the administration of breaking that promise, saying the new rules will impose new, unwanted burdens on health insurers and businesses that could force more than half of U.S. workers out of their current plans.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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