CMS won't delay on insurance exchange rules

A senior CMS official rejected a call by Republican senators to extend the comment period for rules governing coming health insurance exchanges.

Gary Cohen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the CMS, told reporters Thursday that he would not consider extending the comments period for various exchange rules and delaying their finalization.

“There's not a lot of time between now and October, and people are saying that we need to get these rules; the industry in particular is saying 'We need to get these rules finalized in order to know how to develop plans and get them into states,'” Cohen said.

Earlier Thursday, 10 Republican senators, including Orrin Hatch (Utah) and Chuck Grassley (Iowa), wrote the Obama administration to urge an extension of the 30-day comment period to allow more review time for three recently proposed health insurance exchange rules.

“The most recently published proposed rules issued with respect to the insurance exchanges provide even more evidence of the politicization of the regulatory process and the alarming lack of interest in stakeholder involvement,” wrote the senators.

The senators requested extensions of the comment periods for an essential health benefits rule; health insurance market rules; and the HHS notice of benefit and payment parameters for 2014. The comment periods for the rules end later in this month.

Cohen said many of the rules already were previewed in earlier draft form and through guidance, “so we think the comment period is certainly adequate for us to gain input from the public.”

Cohen said he had not heard from any health industry entities requesting an extension of the comment periods for the rules.



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