Obama Gets Tough on Insurers, Releases New Regs

The regulations issued Tuesday also deal with a provision in the PPACA that bans insurers from rescinding a policy because of an unintentional mistake on an application for coverage, and another that bans insurers from setting lifetime limits on coverage and restricts their use of annual limits.

Annual limits will be phased out entirely by 2014.

The new regulations also provide guidance on the law's provision that prohibits insurers and employer plans from requiring a referral to see an Ob/Gyn, and a provision that will make it illegal for insurers to charge higher copayments for emergency service that are obtained out of a plan's network.

Most of the measures referenced in the new regulations will go into effect for insurance policies that begin coverage on or after Sept. 23.

One insurance executive at the meeting, Blue Cross Blue Shield president and CEO Scott Serota, said in a statement that the new reform rules that go into effect his year "have the potential to add costs to what we're already experiencing today."

Sebelius said most of the new reform rules will cause premiums to rise "less than 1 percent."

A spokeswoman for Cigna said the insurer is pleased to have had the chance to meet with Sebelius and White House Officials and that the company is still reviewing the regulatory guidance.

On July 1, people with preexisting medical conditions who haven't been able to obtain insurance will be eligible for a new, temporary, high-risk pool called the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan.

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