CMS Is Working towards Allowing Americans to Purchase Health Insurance Across State Lines

On March 6th, 2019, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requested for information that solicits recommendations on how to eradicate regulatory, operational, and financial barriers to help improve issuers’ and insurance agents’ ability to sell and market health insurance plans across state borders. This announcement is building from the Trump Administration’s Executive Order from October 12th, 2017 – “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States.” This plan aims to give Americans relief from increasing premiums by adding consumer choice and competition.

“Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States” explicitly instructs the Administration to aid in the buying and selling of health insurance coverage across state lines. Therefore, CMS is requesting information to aid in increasing consumer choice. The information gathering process allows CMS to collect feedback from the public and create ideas on how they can change the current system. CMS is particularly interested in feedback on Section 1333 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which lays out the regulatory framework for allowing two or more states to enter into a Healthcare Choice Compact. A Healthcare Choice Compact aids in facilitating the sale of health insurance coverage across state lines. The few that CMS is focusing on are how the agency can expand access to healthcare coverage across state lines, effectively operationalizing the sale of healthcare coverage across state lines, and understanding what kind of financial impacts will be seen with selling healthcare coverage across state lines.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma stated the following:

“Americans are in desperate need of more affordable health insurance options. Eliminating the barriers to selling health insurance coverage across state lines could help provide access to a more competitive and affordable health insurance market. We are looking for information and ideas from the public on how to create a more dynamic health insurance market with more insurers participating and competing to meet the needs of the American people just like we see in markets for so many other products and services that enhance our daily lives.”

According to the Trump Administration, they have made it a number one priority to expand the choice and affordability in the health insurance market. While premiums have dropped slightly and issuer participation has increased this year, premiums remain too high and a substantial part of counties continue to have only one issuer. Expanding the sale of health insurance coverage across state lines could provide more options to individuals that only have access to one issuer and allow them the opportunity to pick a plan that specifically meets their needs and lowers their costs.

The RFI (request for information) will be open for 60 days. To view the RFI visit: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection/current

*Information acquired from CMS.gov Newsroom.