Mental Health Parity Proposed for Medicaid and CHIP

On Monday, CMS issued a proposed rule to extend the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The law requires group health plans that cover behavioral health services to do so with the same terms as they apply to medical care; the ACA extended these protections to the individual market. CMS’s proposed rule applies to Medicaid alternative benefit plans and to all Medicaid enrollees who receive services through Medicaid managed care organizations.

Department of Treasury and HHS Announce Tax Season Relief & SEP Enrollment Updates

The Department of Treasury announced that consumers impacted by problems pertaining to their 1095A Marketplace tax forms may file their tax return through October 15 without penalty, provided that the consumer files an extension request by April 15. This announcement follows guidance relieving consumers who filed a return with an incorrect 1095A form of the obligation to file an amended return. Also last week, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that as of March 29, 36,000 consumers have enrolled in coverage through HealthCare.gov’s Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for individuals who owe a tax penalty. This represents only 2–4% of taxpayers who will owe the tax penalty and thus are eligible for the SEP, which runs through April 30 for people living in states with a Federally-facilitated Marketplace.

Report Suggests More than 80 Percent of All Marketplace Plans Non-Compliant with Tobacco Cessation Benefit Requirements

According to a recently-released American Lung Association (ALA) report, only 17.2% of issuers are compliant with the ACA requirement that plans cover certain tobacco cessation interventions and counseling without cost-sharing. Based on a review of Marketplace plan formularies, the ALA found that an additional 41.4% covered approved interventions but required some level of cost sharing. The report recommends greater transparency in Marketplace websites and plan issuer formularies and materials.