HHS has issues a proposed rule that would increase the number of drugs eligible for reimbursement by insurers under the Affordable Care Act's essential health benefits requirements. In a previous bulletin, HHS said it planned to require that essential health benefits cover only one drug in each therapeutic class included in benchmark plans put forward by each state. The new rule essentially changes the language from 'only one' to 'at least one' drug, requiring that insurers cover at least one drug per therapeutic area or the same number of drugs in each category and class as specified in the state benchmark plan, whichever is greater.
BioCentury reports that the proposed rule also states that a plan "must have procedures in place that allow an enrollee to request clinically appropriate drugs not covered by the health plan." Comments on the proposed rule are due Dec. 26. Previous comments on HHS' bulletin said a one-drug requirement would have provided insufficient access to medications for some conditions. Medicare Part D requires that drug plans provide access to "all or substantially all" medications in six therapeutic classes.
HHS also released a proposed rule that prohibits health insurance companies from discriminating because of a preexisting or chronic condition, as well as a proposed rule on implementing and expanding employment-based wellness programs.