Today, the Ohio Chamber told the members of the House Insurance Committee that they shouldn’t put into state law the major insurance reform provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). House Bill 390, sponsored by Reps. Randi Clites and Jeff Crossman, seeks to do just that, codifying the ACA provisions that: 1) limit the factors by which insurers can vary premium rates; 2) ban annual and lifetime limits; require a health plan to accept any individual or employer that applies for coverage; 3) mandate health plans cover specific “essential health benefits”; 4) require health plans to cover preventive services without any patient cost-sharing; and 5) require that the benefits paid by the health plan are at least 60% of the actuarial value of the benefits provided.
What HB 390 doesn’t do, however, is mirror federal law with respect to the other two major components of the ACA as originally enacted: the requirements that everyone buy insurance and that the government provide subsidies to make that insurance affordable. These two requirements, combined with the insurance reforms, were designed to function together in an effort to keep coverage affordable. Only enacting the insurance reforms is certain to cause health insurance premiums to skyrocket.
The sponsors of the bill want to put these protections into law in case the challenge to the ACA’s constitutionality currently being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court results in the ACA being overturned.
Beyond the likely health insurance premium cost spikes from HB 390, the Ohio Chamber also believes that, in the event the Supreme Court finds the ACA unconstitutional, Ohio would be better served to preserve the flexibility to craft its own plan for ensuring access to quality, affordable health care, specific to Ohio and the needs of Ohioans. Such a comprehensive strategy would necessarily address more than just insurance reforms.