Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak to Hold Sessions on Essential Health Benefits

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 | 04:13 pm

NASHVILLE- Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak will be conducting outreach meetings across the state to gather input from Tennesseans about the health conditions that should be covered under essential health benefit categories.

 These public meetings are being held to gather public opinion on the determination of an essential health benefits package for health insurance coverage under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or PPACA.

All interested parties are invited to indicate which of 10 potential benchmark plans designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should be selected by the state as a benchmark or reference plan. Interested parties may also indicate how any of the plans might be modified, either to ensure the benchmark covers each of the 10 PPACA-required benefit categories, or for other reasons.

After considering the public input provided at the meetings and through written comments, Commissioner McPeak will recommend an essential health benefits benchmark to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. Within 30 days of an approval by the Governor, the Insurance Commissioner will enact an administrative rule, based on his recommendation, that will designate the benchmark plan and the essential health benefit package to be included in individual and small-employer group health insurance plans offered on or after January 1, 2014.

At the meetings, following brief introductory comments reviewing the purpose of the hearing, interested parties will be invited to take up to five minutes to offer comments. Written comments and related materials may also be submitted by email both during the meeting and through August 10, 2012, at PubComm.HRF@tn.gov, or by mailing them to:

Chlora A. Lindley-Myers
Tenn. Dept. of Commerce and Insurance
500 James Robertson Parkway, 12th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243

Meeting dates and locations are as follows. With details for some of the latter meetings being finalized, updates to meeting locations will be posted at http://tn.gov/commerce/health_essentials.shtml, as well: 

July 17, 2012, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing, Room 155 Nursing Annex, 461 21st Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37240

July 31, 2012, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Kingsport Renaissance Center, 1200 E. Center Street, Kingsport, TN 37660

July 31, 2012, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. – UT-Knoxville Conference Center Building, 600 Henley Street, Knoxville, TN 37902

August 1, 2012, 10 a.m. to noon – Lee University Dixon Center, 1053 Church Street NE, Cleveland, TN 37311

August 3, 2012, 10 a.m. to noon - Hamilton Eye Institute, Freeman Auditorium, 930 Madison, 3rd Floor, Memphis, TN 38103

August 3, 2012, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Jackson State Community College’s McWherter Center: Ayers Auditorium, 2046 North Parkway, Jackson, TN 38301

Posted on the Commerce and Insurance Essential Health Benefits page are documents related to the discussion of an essential health benefits package:

Slides summarizing the determination of an essential health benefits package, including:

required coverage categories and allowed variations;
what the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services intends to propose as federal rules; and
related matters.

Slides outlining the benefits covered by the nine Tennessee essential health benefit benchmark options.

A bulletin by a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agency on how it proposes to define essential health benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions related to the bulletin.

A related list produced by HHS identifying the three federal employee plans that may qualify as benchmark options and the three largest, small-employer group products from which a benchmark may be selected. The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance is in the process of confirming the accuracy of the small employer product designations.

The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce, @TNCommerceInsur (Twitter), http://on.fb.me/uFQwUZ (Facebook), http://bit.ly/ry1GyX (YouTube)