Health Law and Policy Update
Headlines of the week
State health reform director to hold weekly public meetings
Lorez Meinhold, the Colorado director of health reform implementation, will provide an opportunity for people to hear about health reform progress and opportunities, and answer questions, at weekly public meetings.
The meetings will be held at 11:30 a.m. each Friday, starting this week, July 16, 225 E 16th Ave. in the first-floor conference room. Meinhold will be available for an hour. This Friday, she will give a brief update on the new high-risk pool, called GettingUSCovered, and then take questions.
High-risk pool taking applications
People interested in health insurance coverage through the new high-risk pool may apply for through GettingUSCovered. Some details of the high-risk pool were covered in last week's edition of Health Law and Policy Update.
Free preventive services requirement kicks in Sept. 23
Regulations for new health insurance companies were issued this week, including a provision requiring new health plans to cover preventive services. The provision does not apply to plans in place before Sept. 23. From the Health and Human Services news release:
New health plans beginning on or after Sept. 23, 2010, must cover preventive services that have strong scientific evidence of their health benefits, and these plans may no longer charge a patient a copayment, co-insurance or deductible for these services when they are delivered by a network provider. Specifically, these recommendations include:
Evidence-based preventive services: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of scientific experts, rates preventive services based on the strength of the scientific evidence documenting their benefits. Preventive services with a "grade" of A or B, like breast and colon cancer screenings, screening for vitamin deficiencies during pregnancy, screenings for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and tobacco cessation counseling will be covered under these rules.
Routine vaccines: Health plans will cover a set of standard vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices ranging from routine childhood immunizations to periodic tetanus shots for adults.
Prevention for children: Health plans will cover preventive care for children recommended under the Bright Futures guidelines, developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration with the American Academy of Pediatrics. These guidelines provide pediatricians and other health care professionals with recommendations on the services they should provide to children from birth to age 21 to keep them healthy and improve their chances of becoming healthy adults. The types of services that will be covered include regular pediatrician visits, vision and hearing screening, developmental assessments, immunizations, and screening and counseling to address obesity and help children maintain a healthy weight.
Prevention for women: Health plans will cover preventive care provided to women under both the task force recommendations and new guidelines being developed by an independent group of experts, including doctors, nurses, and scientists, which are expected to be issued by Aug. 1, 2011.
Advancing the debate
The Urban Institute during June and July has issued a series of papers on various aspects of health reform.
More resources on health reform and mental health
Last week, Health Law and Policy Update included information about mental health and health reform. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has produced papers on the same topic including a listing of provisions that affect people with mental illness, and recommendations for ensuring health reform works for people living with mental illness.
What you can do
Attend a public meeting with the state health reform implementation director, details above.
Schedule a presentation on health reform
Health reform can be confusing. The health staff at the Colorado Center on Law and Policy is ready to help community groups, medical professionals, lawmakers and others understand the complexities of health reform and how it will roll out during the next few years. Please contact us to schedule a presentation.
Health Care Director
Health Care Attorney
Released July 15, 2010