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Indiana says insurers can't reinstate canceled policies

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Indiana will not allow health insurers to reinstate customers’ policies that were canceled due to new requirements of Obamacare, the state insurance department announced Wednesday morning, saying that would “create logistical chaos” and “destabilize” Indiana’s individual insurance market.

The announcement, which affects an estimated 108,000 Hoosiers who have had their policies canceled, comes in response to President Obama’s request last week that state insurance commissioners let insurers reinstate policies that they had decided to cancel for 2014.

“President Obama has asked that Indiana compel insurance companies who choose to do business in our state to reinstate carefully phased-out policies at a moment’s notice,” Indiana Insurance Commissioner Stephen Robertson said in a statement. “Such an action would seriously destabilize Indiana’s insurance market and create logistical chaos, fueling even more uncertainty for Hoosiers.”

Indiana is the eighth state that has announced it will not allow insurers to reinstate canceled policies. According to the Atlantic Information Services, another five states have said they have allowed insurers to do so.

However, some Hoosiers still have the option of renewing their canceled policies for 2014, as long as they do so before Dec. 31. The state already has given insurers the go-ahead to do so, if they wish to offer that option to customers. Those customers could extend the terms of their 2013 policies until nearly the end of 2014. Only at the end of the 2014, then, would customers have to buy new policies that adhere to the new Obamacare rules.

The state's ruling announced on Wednesday would apply to customers whose policies had been canceled, and who waited until 2014 to buy coverage for that year.

Obamacare, known as the Affordable Care Act, requires insurers to accept all comers, regardless of their health status, forbids lifetime maximums for medical claims, and requires that health plans cover “essential” benefits and pay for at least 60 percent of all projected medical claims.

The Indiana Department of Insurance estimated that roughly 60 percent of all individual health insurance customers have policies that do not meet Obamacare’s new requirements, which triggers a provision in the Affordable Care Act rules that requires them to be canceled by Jan. 1, 2014.

But on Nov. 14, Obama suspended that requirement, saying neither he nor the law would be the reason for policy cancellations.

“What we’re essentially saying is the Affordable Care Act is not going to be the factor in what happens with folks in the individual market,” Obama said at his Nov. 14 press conference. He added, “I, the president of the United States, and the insurance model of the Affordable Care Act is not going to be getting in the way of you shopping in the individual market that you used to have.”

But because health insurance is regulated by the states, not the federal government, Obama’s plan required the cooperation of both state insurance commissioners and the health insurers themselves. So far, most have made no decision.

One issue is logistics. Robertson noted that his offices conducted months-long discussions with insurance carriers before approving their rates and policy contract language for 2014. Those rates were approved before a July 31 deadline set by the Obama administration.
 

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  • Hold it
    Wait, wait, wait. Since when does ONE anecdote "blow up" a very valid criticism? Bill's story might be unfortunate, but it in no way negates Kelly's point. And, for guys like Bill, I'm not terribly convinced that they're motivated to find a good policy via the ACA. Sean Hannity recently had a panel of folks on complaining about the ACA and every single one of their stories was refuted by later reporting. Either they didn't know how the web site worked or they didn't know that they qualified for subsidies or they didn't know that they don't HAVE to use the web site or they lived in a state, like Indiana, that didn't expand existing coverage such as Medicare. Is the ACA perfect? Of course not. No program is, especially one this sweeping. It will require tweaking and adjustments. Unfortunately, with so many people absolutely determined that Obama fail no matter what, they're willing to lay any sort of blame at his door, even their own incompetence.
  • unfortunate
    Bill...it is unfortunate that you had to pay more. I feel for you there. But if your policy is no longer less expensive because you are a male, that is a good thing. It was never right to charge females more. As for maternity coverage, I get your point that you won't need it. However, my insurance policy covers vasectomies and prostate exams. I don't need those, but I don't have the option (nor should I) of removing these coverages from my policy.
  • Nice Try
    Kelly - Please reply to Bills comments above. It appears that he pretty much blew up your argument.
    • Legal Authority
      The President does not have the authoprity to amend the Act through either an executive order or regulatory change. Only the legislature can. That's part of the rub, insurers and state insurance commissioners are in a catch 22. There is no guaranty that the justice department will not come down on them like a load of bricks should a legal challence to the extension occur.
    • Hello, Kelly?
      Hello? Hello? Kelly, is there anyone in there? Please listen to Bill. He appears to be a voice of reason.
    • The Worst
      Which is worse, the government or insurance companies. One is incompetent, the other is utterly selfish (despite all the false claims in advertizing about caring for consumers).
    • Not a crap policy
      Kelly--please stop making the assumption that any policy that does not meet ACA requirements is "crap". I carefully chose my policy because it covered what I wanted; despite that, it had 2 ACA "defects" causing it to be cancelled. The first is that it priced risk for males differently than females. The second is that it did not include maternity coverage--which we do not need, since my wife is past child bearing age, and my sons don't need it. The policy I have provides the coverage I want with the choice of doctors I want. But I can no longer have it due to the ACA. My ACA choices have higher premiums, much higher out of pocket maximums, and much more restrictive network of docs and hospitals. So, you can argue that I have to pay more for my insurance to subsidize others--that is what the ACA requires. But stop arguing that all individual policies that don't meet ACA requirements are crap--that simply is not true. It seems quite clear that the ACA requirements were drafted so that all individual customers would be forced into the new plans, regardless. So that is what has happened, a last minute (impractical) white house waiver notwithstanding.
    • that's just not true
      That's false. Mine will be cancelled because it doesn't meet the ACA standards. And my policy was fine. It was a standard Anthem policy with normal co-pay, normal deductible, normal in/out networks, normal everything. The "all cancelled policies were already terrible" line is a canard.
    • wrong strategy
      Obama should have suggested that cancelled policies NOT be reinstated. Pence and his crew would have fallen all over themselves in their continuing effort to do the opposite of whatever the President asks.
    • get to keep what?
      The people who are crying because their individual policies were cancelled had crap polices to begin with. The reason their cancelled policy was so cheap was obviously because the coverage was terrible. So when these individuals had a hospital stay, the insurance barely covered the costs and so the hospital would write it off, just as they do for the uninsureds, and then this bad debt is added to everyone else's bill. The only way the PPACA is going to work is if everyone is required to have insurance and the insurance must be sufficient to pay the bills!
      • There you go.
        "Indiana will not allow health insurers to reinstate customers’ policies that were canceled due to new requirements of Obamacare" There you go. You can blame the State of Indiana for it now. Remember, the ACA didn't actually force anyone insurer to stop offering coverage. It just gave people motivation to get better coverage by the individual mandate. But the State of Indiana is now specifically prohibiting Insurance companies from providing the old coverage.

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