Trump administration's new insurance guidelines for states, employers: 10 things to know

The Trump administration issued new guidelines and proposals aimed at giving states and employers more flexibility to waive ACA regulations.

Here are 10 things to know:

1. On Oct. 22, CMS said it will change how the ACA's Section 1332 waivers work. The waivers allow states to bypass some of the ACA's rules as long as any coverage changes are at least as comprehensive and affordable to a comparable number of people.

2. "With the prior administration's overly and unnecessarily restrictive guidance in place, very few states have come forward with innovative new strategies for improving their healthcare markets," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a blog post.

3. The newly named State Relief and Empowerment Waivers will require states to provide residents with access to the same level of coverage, with the caveat that not all plans have to be as comprehensive.

4. This will allow people to choose cheaper policies, like short-term plans, if they want. Those plans don't have to comply with some of the ACA's benefit standards, such as mental health, maternity and prescription drug coverage. States will also be able to use federal funding to subsidize the short-term health plans, according to Kaiser Health News.

5. "The big change is they no longer have to worry about making sure that people with pre-existing conditions or high healthcare needs maintain enrollment in comprehensive coverage," Sabrina Corlette, research professor at the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., told KHN.

6. The Trump administration is set to propose a new policy Oct. 23 allowing small- and medium-sized companies that don't currently provide employer-based insurance coverage to use health reimbursement arrangements, The Hill reported.

7. Under the proposed policy, companies may use HRAs to reimburse employee premiums on the individual ACA market up to $1,800, according to The Hill

8. HRAs allow employers to put tax-free dollars in workers' accounts to cover future medical expenses. They can only be used for specific eligible healthcare costs.

9. According to The Hill, the Obama administration did not allow large- and mid-sized companies to use HRAs to pay employee premiums, and pre-tax HRA contributions are only allowed if they go with a health plan that meets ACA coverage requirements. The publication states the new proposal would allow employees to buy coverage that doesn't have to meet those ACA coverage requirements.

10. Trump administration officials told The Hill the new proposal aims to increase insurer competition and ease restrictions on HRAs.

Editor's note: This article was updated on Oct. 24.

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