Officials Stepping Up Pressure On Insurers To Stop Cancellations, Or Explain Them
Insurance industry officials meet with White House officials, and California convinces one company to delay cancellations for three months.
The Wall Street Journal: Health Insurers Urged To Extend Policies Beyond Year-End
Federal lawmakers and state officials are stepping up pressure on insurers to allow consumers whose coverage has been canceled in response to the health overhaul to keep their policies beyond the end of the year. On Tuesday, one of the largest regional health plans in the nation, Blue Shield of California, said it would relax its stance on terminated policies for about 115,000 people after state regulators demanded it do so. Customers now will have until March to decide which plan to choose for 2014, a three-month extension. Because the newer plans generally cost more, the extension could save residents as much as $28.6 million on premiums, said Dave Jones, California's insurance commissioner (Martin and Radnofsky, 11/5).
Los Angeles Times: State Insurance Chief Faults Health Exchange For Cancellations
Stepping into the national backlash over health policy cancellations, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones faulted the state's health exchange for requiring insurers to terminate coverage Dec. 31, but acknowledged that he has little power to stop it. Jones reiterated his support for President Obama's healthcare law Tuesday, but he said these cancellation notices and the resulting avalanche of consumer complaints were an unnecessary blunder (Terhune, 11/5).
The San Jose Mercury News: Blue Shield Forced To Delay Canceling 80,000 Health Insurance Policies
The clock is ticking on 1 million Californians forced to buy new health insurance because their plans don't comply with the federal health care law, but on Tuesday one of the state's biggest health insurers was forced to give its customers a three-month reprieve. Blue Shield of California must delay canceling health insurance policies that cover 119,000 people, many of whom are scrambling to buy new policies on the state's new health insurance exchange -- and consumer advocates are urging other insurance companies in California and the rest of the nation to follow suit (Seipel, 11/5).
Politico: California Blue Shield Extension Unlikely To Affect Other Health Plans
Blue Cross of California has agreed to allow 115,000 customers to stay on their current policies until the end of Obamacare's open enrollment period March 31, under threat of a lawsuit by the state insurance department. But the move is unlikely to be a broader answer to the millions of cancellation notices being sent out nationwide, which have caused a political crisis for the White House on top of the rocky launch of the Obamacare website. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said Tuesday a quirk in California law made it possible for him to require the extension from Blue Shield, but that it’s unlikely to apply to anyone else, even in his state (Cheney and Norman, 11/5).
ProPublica: Why Health Insurance Cancellations Shouldn't Be A Surprise
To get behind the headlines, we reached out to a leading expert on the law: Kip Piper, who advises large health care organizations on Medicare, Medicaid, and health reform policy, finance and business strategy. ... "The fact that ACA would effectively nuke most of the existing commercial individual health insurance market was never in question," Piper told us. In the interview below, which was edited for length and clarity, Piper discusses cancellations, the apparent surge in Medicaid enrollments under Obamacare and whether more transparency would have helped the rollout (Ornstein, 11/5).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama's Chief Of Staff Asks Largest Health Insurers To Help Explain Cancellations To Americans
The White House is asking insurance companies to explain to Americans the cancellation letters they're receiving in the mail. President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, met Tuesday with CEOs from some of the largest health insurers. The White House says McDonough updated the CEOs on fixes to healthcare.gov and problems with enrollment data sent electronically to insurers. McDonough also solicited input on whether the system is getting better (11/5).
The Baltimore Sun: Obama, Some Marylanders Grapple With Dropped Insurance Plans
Raymond Liu remembers President Barack Obama's promise that people would be able to keep their insurance if they liked it. He liked his, but he won't be able to keep it. As Obama continues his campaign to win over Americans skeptical of the Affordable Care Act, the ranks of critics are growing, swollen by people such as Liu who are losing their existing health insurance because it does not comply with the law (Cohn, 11/6).