ACA is concerned about the guidelines of HHS that allows states to choose their own benchmark plan.

The American Chiropractic Association sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last October 19 about the department’s implementation of a key provider non-discrimination provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

The association is particularly concerned about the guidelines set by HHS in which states are allowed to choose their own benchmark plan or health benefits standard from ten plans, which will be available in the new insurance marketplace (“exchanges”) required by the PPACA, in each state. This will dictate the specific benefits provided by health insurance plans through the exchanges.

Dr. Keith Overland, president of the American Chiropractic Association, stated in his letter to Sebelius that states will most likely choose plans that are not very robust and are inconsistent with Section 2706 of the PPACA by excluding chiropractic services. Dr. Overland wrote in his letter: “We have reason to believe that several states have taken just such an action, having allowed little to no input from the chiropractic community during their deliberations.”

The law gives patients the right to receive care from the provider of their choice, given that the provider is licensed in the state and can provide the specific benefit covered through an exchange health plan. Section 2706 is PPACA’s provider non-discrimination provision. It prevents health plans from excluding coverage of certain categories based only on their licensure.

“Discrimination against providers is also discrimination against patients,” he added in the letter. “Discrimination against the services provided by doctors of chiropractic and other providers unduly and unlawfully restricts the patient’s ability to select the provider, and the service, of his or her choice.”

Moreover, the American Chiropractic Association asked HHS to inform the states that adherence to Section 2706 is essential. The association also requested for the department to carefully evaluate the proposed benchmark plan of each state to prevent non-compliance to the said section.

Clinics like ChiroCarolina® and their patients will be greatly affected by these actions. Dr Ali, Charlotte Chiropractor at ChiroCarolina®, commented that this is a very positive step by the ACA in the right direction.