Gretchen Harders Quoted in Article About Women’s Preventive Services Rule

BNA Human Resources Report

Gretchen Harders, a Member of the Firm's Employee Benefits practice in the New York office, was quoted in an article titled,

"Women's Preventive Services Rule Issued Under Health Care Overhaul Law."

Following is an excerpt:

Rules requiring new health insurance plans to cover women's preventive health services without charging copayments, coinsurance, or deductibles were issued jointly Aug. 1 by three agencies that are implementing the health care overhaul law. The Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration, and the Department of the Treasury's Internal Revenue Service issued an interim final rule adopting guidelines recommended July 19 by the Institute of Medicine.

Gretchen Harders called the expansion "significant," noting that by the time it takes effect next August (for Jan. 1, 2013, calendar year plans) many currently grandfathered group health plans may have lost that status due to changes in the plans. Harders told BNA Aug. 4 that the new rule applies whether plans are self- or fully insured.

"The impact of this new guidance on the employer cost of providing group health care coverage will be tested in the coming years," she said. Better preventive care is thought to reduce the employer cost of providing group health plan coverage in the long term, she noted, adding that most large employers review their plans annually and are actively monitoring any increase in cost and the benefits provided on a plan year basis.

"As we have seen with the expansion of dependent care coverage for dependents up to age 26 under PPACA, employers will need to effectively communicate with employees the expansion of women's preventive care services," she added.

Comments on the interim final rule are due 60 days after Aug. 1. Comments on the proposed rule from IRS are due 60 days after Aug. 3 publication in the Federal Register (76 Fed. Reg. 46,677).

Sebelius Calls Guidelines 'Historic.'

The interim final rule issued by CMS, EBSA, and IRS can be accessed at http://op.bna.com/hl.nsf/r?Open=bbrk-8kbknj, and the IRS proposed rule is at http://op.bna.com/hl.nsf/r?Open=bbrk-8kbkqn.