Policy Roundup: Health Law's Effect On Insurance Plans, Mandate Enforcement Issues

Kaiser Health News: "Consumers and employers who provide health insurance are scrambling to understand what will change in their premiums and benefits once provisions of the recently passed law go into effect." Some of the answers they seek are unclear because the legislation leaves out details the health department must fill in during the regulatory process. But, beginning next year, it's clear lifetime limits on coverage will be banned, annual limits will be restricted, the practice of canceling policies retrospectively will be forbidden, and young adults will be able to remain on their parents' plans longer, among other things (Appleby, 4/6).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "A centerpiece of the new health care law calls on most Americans to buy health insurance by 2014 or start paying fines collected by the Internal Revenue Service. But IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said Monday that federal agents won't chase after people who don't pay up" (Marrero, 4/5).

Kaiser Health News, in a separate story: "Changing rules on flexible spending accounts mean that starting next year, you can use money from an FSA account to pay for eyeglasses or acupuncture but not an aspirin -- that is, unless you have a prescription for it." The health law will cap FSAs at $2,500 and ban spending on over-the-counter drugs to reduce what lawmakers say is wasteful health spending (Villegas, 4/5).

The Washington Post offers a list of online resources for those who wish to ply deeper into the health overhaul's policy minutiae.

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.