New Transparency Requirements for 2024
Group health plans and health insurance issuers are subject to many requirements designed to increase health care transparency and protect consumers against surprise medical bills. In general, most employers rely on their issuers, third-party administrators (TPAs) and other service providers to satisfy many of these requirements, including the obligations to provide machine-readable files (MRFs) and a cost comparison tool and submit detailed reports on prescription drug spending. Employers should confirm that their written agreements with their issuers, TPAs or other service providers have been updated to address this compliance responsibility. In addition, employers should monitor their service providers’ compliance with federal transparency requirements.
Employers should watch for additional transparency guidance in 2024, including guidance on the currently delayed requirement to provide advanced explanations of benefits (EOBs) and possibly new transparency legislation. In addition, employers should be aware of the following transparency requirements for 2024:
- Cost comparison tool: For plan years beginning in 2023, health plans and issuers were required to make an internet-based price comparison tool available for 500 shoppable items, services and drugs. For plan years beginning in 2024, the internet-based price comparison tool must be expanded to cover all covered items, services and drugs.
- MRFs: Non-grandfathered health plans and issuers must publicly post three MRFs regarding in-network provider rates, out-of-network allowed amounts and billed charges, and prescription drug rates and prices. Federal agencies have ended an enforcement delay for posting the prescription drug file. Future guidance will specify a timeline for complying with this requirement.
- Prescription drug reporting: Health plans and issuers must report information about prescription drugs and health care spending to the federal government annually. This reporting process is referred to as the “prescription drug data collection” (or “RxDC report”). The annual deadline is June 1, which means that the RxDC report is due by June 1, 2024, covering data for 2023. However, because June 1, 2024, is a Saturday, this deadline may be extended to the next business day, which is June 3, 2024.
- Gag clause attestations: Health plans and issuers must annually submit an attestation of compliance with the federal prohibition on gag clauses. The gag clause attestation is due by Dec. 31 of each year.
For additional information on the new transparency requirements or any other compliance concerns related to your employer sponsored health plan, please contact me at Mike.Holley@dimondbros.com
Vice President of Life and Health - Partner
This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice.