US Territories Exempt From Some Obamacare Mandates

Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 07:41 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Insurance carriers in Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands are off the hook for a slew of Obamacare requirements.

The Department of Health and Human Services wrote Wednesday that insurance companies in the U.S. territories aren't considered "states" so they don't have to follow certain Obamacare marketplace requirements, The Hill reported Thursday.

"After a careful review of this situation and the relevant statutory language, HHS has determined that the new provisions ... are appropriately governed by the definition of 'state,'" the department declared. These "new provisions do not apply to individual or group health insurance issuers in the U.S. territories."

The territories already weren’t subject to many Affordable Care Act requirements, including the individual mandate and premium subsidies, the Daily Caller reported.

But those same regulations were supposed to bring healthy and young customers into the insurance market, and without either, insurers in the territories complained they were losing money due to the influx of sick patients and the new benefits they were required to provide, the Daily Caller said.

HHS had initially balked at the pleas from the territories, The Washington Post reported.

The territories will now be exempted from guaranteed coverage, community rating, single risk pools, rate review, the medical loss ratio, and essential health benefits, the reports said.

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