When talking about healthcare reform, grandfathered status remains an important concern. Previously, it was clear that, for self-funded plans, changing third-party administrators would not cause a loss of grandfathered status. But for insured plans, changing carrier would. That has now been "clarified."

In recently issued amendments to the interim final regulations on grandfathering, group health plans may now switch insurance companies and still maintain grandfathered status provided the structure of the new coverage does not violate one of the other rules for maintaining grandfathered status. So employers can still shop for coverage and change carriers without losing this status. They just have to be careful that the don't change the components of coverage in a way that increases employee-cost sharing beyond what is permitted to maintain grandfathered status.

This amendment applies on tot insured group health plans and not to individual policies.