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This Could Be the Wave of the Future

This Could Be the Wave of the Future

The most interesting possibility in health policy today has a really dull name.

It's called a 1332 Innovation Waiver. A reference to Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it allows states to waive major portions of the landmark health care law starting in 2017. 

The Colorado Health Institute’s Jeff Bontrager presented information about the waivers this morning to the Colorado Health Insurance Exchange Oversight Committee. He also shared our new brief, Section 1332 Innovations Waivers: A Vehicle for Change.

With a waiver, a state could do away with the mandates for people or businesses to buy health insurance, the minimum benefits insurance policies must offer, or state health insurance marketplaces like Connect for Health Colorado.

But the waivers don't simply let states get rid of the ACA. Any state that secures a waiver will have to make sure at least as many people are insured as under the ACA, at no additional cost to the federal government. Coverage will have to be just as affordable and just as comprehensive for customers.

Other states are already exploring 1332 waivers, including Arkansas, Hawaii and Minnesota. If Colorado legislators want to join these states, they will have to decide what exactly they want to change about the ACA and then begin a process that could take months or years.

In other words, if you want a waiver, get ready to put in some serious work.