Six months in

The President signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law six months ago today. OPM posted on its website today a benefits administration letter that explains the Affordable Care Act driven changes to the FEHB Program that take effect January 1, 2011.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Labor, and the Internal Revenue Service principally are responsible for implementing the Affordable Care Act. The FEHB Program is subject to their Affordable Care Act regulations. Historically in accordance with the FEHB Act, the Program has operated under OPM regulations. However, for the past decade or so, Congress has modified the FEHB Program by amending the Public Health Service Act which HHS administers. 

HHS has delegated to OPM responsibility for administering the fall back Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan administrator contract, which is held by a FEHB plan carrier, GEHA.  More recently, HHS delegated to OPM responsibility for handling external claim appeals from insureds covered under health insurance policies issued by insurance companies in states which don’t have a federally approved external appeal program as of today.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners released a draft regulation implementing the Affordable Care Act’s minimum medical loss ratio provision which applies to all health insurers next year. The NAIC will consider the draft next month and then will send it off to HHS for actual rule-making. The Wall Street Journal reports that the draft is a mixed bag for insurers. reports that the Senate Budget Committee today approved the Jacob “Jack” Lew’s nomination to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget. The full Senate now can consider the nomination, possible before it adjourns on October 8 for the elections. “If confirmed, Lew said he would conduct an exhaustive review of every federal agency to trim waste and inefficiencies.”