America’s Essential Hospitals, along with a coalition of other hospital and health care provider associations, submitted a letter Dec. 22 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in response to the HHS notice of benefit and payment parameters for 2016 proposed rule. The associations strongly urged HHS to improve health insurance marketplace (exchange) standards for contracting with essential community providers (ECPs) to ensure patients have access to quality, affordable health care. Specifically, the associations implored HHS to increase the minimum ECP threshold and require all qualified health plans (QHPs) to contract with any willing ECP operating in their service area. Currently, QHPs are required to contract with 30 percent of the available ECPs in their service area. Additionally, the associations urged HHS to require QHPs to also contract with at least one of each type of ECP in every county within their service area. Lastly, the associations urged HHS to encourage states to adopt strong ECP protections in their state-based marketplaces.
The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register Nov. 26, and comments were due Dec. 22. Please contact Xiaoyi Huang, director of policy, at email@example.com or 202.585.0127 with feedback or questions.