Recently, we were talking about our to-do lists and had a slight panic attack. We were positive we forgot a critical new group benefit plan reporting requirement, but we couldn’t remember all the details (which was terrifying because one of our mottos is “details matter”). A quick review of our trusty notebooks and the Google machine cleared things up. We didn’t forget anything, exactly. Or, at least we didn’t forget anything that the federal government hadn’t also forgotten.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (CAA21) requires group health plan sponsors and health insurance issuers to report information about air ambulance claims incurred during 2022 and 2023 to federal regulators. A proposed rule issued by the federal Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury on September 16, 2021 suggested that reporting on 2022 calendar year data would be due on March 31, 2023 (or, in approximately six weeks), and 2023 data would be due on March 31, 2024. However, to-date, this regulation has not been finalized. More importantly, none of the federal Departments issuing the proposed regulation have taken any outwardly facing action to:
As a reminder, the proposed rule specifies that the following data elements must reported:
So, where does that leave us, friends? Can we just continue to “forget” about air ambulance claims reporting and hope that our federal friends have added finalizing this regulation and nailing down reporting details somewhere below issuing a rule to define “church plans” on their list of priorities? We wish we could say yes, friends, carry on as if this pesky air ambulance thing never happened. But honestly, we’re not sure that’s a good idea. While we believe that the proposed March 31, 2023 deadline will not be the real date for the submission of 2022 claims data, it is unlikely that this requirement will languish unresolved for years and years.
The Departments claim that they’ll be publishing a final regulation “soon.” We know the publication is not immediately imminent because the proposal is not on the Office of Management and Budget’s regulatory review dashboard, the final place measures like this go before they’re issued publicly. We also know that sometimes, “soon” in federal regulatory parlance translates to “many months and possibly many years from now,” but more often it means “within the next couple of months.” “Soon” also frequently translates to “at 4:30pm the day before the next upcoming major holiday,” and we note both Presidents’ Day and Mardi Gras are right around the corner!
To be prudent, while we are waiting, plan sponsors should review the list of items that the proposed rule would require them to report and determine:
Meanwhile, we are here friends, patiently checking in with regulators and federal dashboards for you, poised to tell you the moment our other besties at HHS, Treasury and Labor are ready with specific deadlines and instructions on when, where, and how to get that air ambulance claims data into them to review!