Hearings on insurance under federal plan begin

Friday, July 13, 2012, Vol. 36, No. 28

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee will hold six hearings on the Affordable Care Act provision of essential health benefits.

That section aims to protect people from being underinsured.

The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/MzBKuK ) reported the first of the hearings is Tuesday at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. There will be other public hearings in Kingsport and Knoxville on July 31, Cleveland on Aug. 1 and Memphis and Jackson on Aug. 3.

The purpose is to gather information as the state defines the essential health benefits for insurance plans in Tennessee. The section applies to individual policies and small-employer group plans after Jan. 1, 2014. The state will also accept written comments.

The act specifies coverage points but leaves to states how to group the plans to make it easier for people and businesses to choose a policy.

A news release from the Department of Commerce and Insurance sa ys the hearings will gather recommendations from the public on which of 10 potential benchmark plans designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should be chosen by the state. Suggested modifications also will be discussed.

The meetings will be conducted by state Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak.