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Is HHS Compromising with Insurers?

Jeff Elliott for HealthLeaders Media, October 20, 2010

And as we well know—states have jumped into action taking an aggressive stance against insurers that drop child-only plans. For instance, California health plans are barred from issuing individual market policies for five years if they chose not to offer child-only coverage.

Since the ball is in the hands of state regulators, the best HHS can do is ask them to take any possible action—even to the point of seeking legislation—to "preserve options for children to obtain coverage regardless of their health status." In other words: play nice, like we have.

It's a fine line ensuring the solvency of insurers while providing a key provision of healthcare reform: ensuring already-sick kids can receive healthcare coverage. HHS and health plans appear to be walking it, albeit precariously, together. The question is will the states join them?

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