Insurers adapt to administration fix, some renew canceled policies
November 21st, 2013
03:11 PM ET
11 months ago

Insurers adapt to administration fix, some renew canceled policies

Washington (CNN) – One week after President Barack Obama announced a fix that would allow people who are losing their insurance policies to keep them, millions of Americans are still waiting for the final word on whether their plans can, in fact, be renewed.

These customers had been receiving letters from their insurers informing them that they would not be able to renew their existing policies in 2014 because those policies do not meet certain minimum coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

In the letters, customers were offered similar ACA-compliant plans and told they could find additional options on the health exchange or private market. But for many, the loss of their old plan means an increase in premiums.

Many insurers are embracing the administration's change of course, and several companies have already begun working to reinstate discontinued plans.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas spokeswoman Mary Beth Chambers told CNN they plan to renew insurance policies for their affected customers, and will notify those customers in letters likely going out early next week.

Florida Blue announced its intention to renew customers' plans last Thursday, the same day the President made his announcement.

In a press release, the company's officials said, "In conjunction with President Obama's announcement today, Florida Blue will allow individual members to continue their existing health care coverage or explore new plan options under the ACA. Affected members will receive new letters from Florida Blue informing them that they can continue to utilize their existing plan through 2014."

At least seven insurance companies are actively planning to extend their canceled policies so far, though some are still waiting for final approval from state officials, who have to sign off on the renewals.

Several states including New York, Indiana, Washington and Massachusetts, are rejecting the proposed extensions and proceeding with the implementation of the health care law as planned.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas has the support of Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, who said in a statement to CNN, "We believe Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas' announcement to extend for one year the policies for those individuals and small group plans who received cancellation notices is the right thing to do now while the problems still exist with the operation of the federal marketplace."

"We know that Blue Cross' decision to extend these policies will require the company to incur some additional operational costs, but, under the circumstances, it is a good decision for many Kansans, and Blue Cross is to be commended for taking this action," Praeger added.

Insurers who decide to offer the non-compliant plans for renewal are required to notify affected customers that their current policies don't offer the same range of coverage options offered by ACA-compliant plans. Notification letters will also have to include information about the health care exchanges and tax credits that could offset the cost of insurance if they decide to choose a new plan.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest emphasized the importance of this point at a briefing Thursday saying, "The consumer protections are an important part of the Affordable Care Act, and those consumer protections that are available in the marketplace but not available in the policies that they're considering renewing are laid out [in the renewal letters.]"

More than 20 states have yet to make a decision, leaving many insurers and customers in a state of uncertainty about how to proceed.

–CNN White House Producer Adam Aigner-Treworgy contributed to this report


Filed under: Obamacare
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    So what talking point is in the GOP gamebook for this? One thing the media has failed to mention since the inception of the PP&ACA is that right now, healthcare cost in this country are rising at the slowest rate EVER!!!! Do your research people.

    November 21, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. Tampa Tim

    The governors in the red states should really be happy now, because right wingnuts in their states will be able to keep their worthless junk policies a little bit longer. And, hopefully this will quiet the baggers down. Blue state governors will continue to follow the law. Everybody wins.

    November 21, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  3. just asking

    these people were going to help keep the costs of the exchange down. so the costs to somebody just went up quite a bit. is that somebody the usa taxpayers? of course it is.

    this whole house of cards will fall and when it does, the usa taxpayers are the one that'll be left holding the bill, as well as helathcare that costs twice as much as it used to. all money that will come right out of the economy.

    November 21, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. Tampa Tim

    Have you tried to sign up for republican health care? Their web site is malfunctioning, and Cruz Care is not taking applications.

    November 21, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. Tigas

    Damage already done.
    Are the insurance companies going to return rates to pre-Obamacare rates?

    November 21, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. tom l

    You need to step out of that medicine cabinet you're living in.
    They've been there and done that.
    The reason why the US Senate is firing it's ICM is in order to defend themselves from the GOPeeing Tearrorists they've been battling for the past 5 years.
    Live free or die I say!
    Keep your finger on the button Harry!"

    An actual grown woman said this. I challenge you to read this and not find similarities between this and what a 10 year old would say on the school yard. Really. You are a child.

    November 21, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  7. bill

    obama will go down in history as the worst pres. ever. carter can jump in his grave a happy man.

    November 21, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  8. California

    60% complete the website.

    ANOTHER FAILED deadline not met on Nov. 30th

    Obamacare has lost 10 times more policies than it's taken in.

    MASSIVE FAILURE!!!!!

    November 21, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    Obama probably threatened them........that's what he does to anyone who opposes him on anything.

    November 21, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    "These customers had been receiving letters from their insurers informing them that they would not be able to renew their existing policies in 2014 because those policies do not meet certain minimum coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act."
    ---------------------------------
    Those non-conformance claims by insurers is a bold face lie. If they currently have a policy, then it conforms to the ACA under the grandfather clause. Period. Insurers are just simply being greedy. They're slamming people into newer, more expensive policies, and they're using the ACA as an excuse.

    November 21, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. sickofit

    Tampa Tim
    The governors in the red states should really be happy now, because right wingnuts in their states will be able to keep their worthless junk policies a little bit longer. And, hopefully this will quiet the baggers down. Blue state governors will continue to follow the law. Everybody wins.
    --------

    If only it were that simple. The governors in the red states will first have to approve this. They are denying their poor Medicade coverage – do you think they're going to approve this? Fat chance! Their goal is not to help their people. Their goal is for Obamacare – and thus, Obama – to fail. Period.

    November 21, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    California

    60% complete the website.

    ANOTHER FAILED deadline not met on Nov. 30th
    --------------
    Watcha doin'? Getting warmed up. We're still at least a week out from the deadline. You gotta DeLorean with a flux capacitor?

    November 21, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. Silence DoGood

    "extend these policies will require the company to incur some additional operational costs..."

    This is driving the right changes. This is forcing concessions by these mega-corporations. They will still make huge profits. And we get to see more people get insurance. Along with dependent age, no caps, and no prior conditions, this is already a success. And it is eating away at the tin-foil tea-hat folks.

    We already tried letting corporations do the right thing on their own. They ended up manipulating the market and driving up the cost of health care.

    Keep up the good fight Mr.President.

    November 21, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  14. michael

    Retardlicans are a worthless bunch! The president said the website would be available to 80% of enrollees by Dec 1 2013!

    November 21, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. Silence DoGood

    @California
    "60% complete the website.
    ANOTHER FAILED deadline not met on Nov. 30th"

    Classic conservative playbook. Make up stuff before it happens. Tell people it is going to happen. When it doesn't either forget the prediction or keep talking like it did happen!

    Remember the Death Panels and Birth Certificate? Smart voters do!

    November 21, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "An actual grown woman said this. I challenge you to read this and not find similarities between this and what a 10 year old would say on the school yard. Really. You are a child."

    Glass houses, tom, glass houses. we'd be posting nothing else if that's how we chose to respond to the GOP/Teatrolls. Stick with the substantive arguments (or jokes)...when I disagree with you on those at least you were trying.

    November 21, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "Obama probably threatened them........that's what he does to anyone who opposes him on anything."
    =======
    ""I don't think the president was trying to convince us or persuade us to do what he's suggesting," Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Tom Leonardi, told reporters. "I think it was the exact opposite, that he really understands the value of state regulators, that he really wants to work with the NAIC."

    "That's really what it was about. It wasn't the president trying to persuade us or stiff-arm us," he said.

    "We came away agreeing that there was a lot of difference of opinions as to whether or not we can or should do what he urged us to do last week," Louisiana Insurance Commissioner and NAIC President Jim Donelon said later."

    November 21, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    BTW, that was from his meeting with state insurance commissioners YESTERDAY. Grow up and get informed, Rick.

    November 21, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |