Nearly half of state insurance departments lack the power to fully enforce new insurance regulations that take effect next year under healthcare reform, raising the possibility of federal oversight of the rules when a state fails to do so, according to a newly released report.
Twenty-two states surveyed by the Commonwealth Fund have limited or no authority to uphold the new regulations, including a popular provision that prohibits insurers from denying coverage to individuals with existing medical conditions. The report did not list the states and researchers declined to release a list, saying respondents were promised confidentiality.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires federal officials to step in when states do not “substantially” enforce health insurance rules.
Katie Keith, an assistant research professor with the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute and one of the study's authors, said states without authority to enforce some or all of the insurance regulations would lose the ability to issue interpretation and guidance on the rules.