Despite the president’s wishes to the contrary, California yesterday rejected his plan to allow individuals to keep their current health plans through 2014. In a press release, insurance commissioner Dave Jones expressed disappointment in the state health care exchange, CoveredCA, not allowing this provision to go through:
Over a millionCalifornians have received cancellation notices from their health insurer. On behalf of these policyholders I am disappointed in Covered California’s action,which denies individuals and families the opportunity to keep their existing health insurance as President Obama promised.
“Covered California rejected what President Obama and I asked for—that individual policyholders be allowed to keep their existing health insurance through all of 2014. Covered California’s decision denies Californians the same opportunity health insurers are giving to its small business customers who are being allowed to renew current policies throughout 2014.
CoveredCalifornia could have honored President Obama’s request, without causing damage to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act or the Exchange.
While one might think as insurance commissioner Mr. Jones could have had a bigger hand in this decision, California’s unique health dynamic did not allow the commissioner to make this decision unilaterally. As part of their contract with insurers, CoveredCA had stipulated that these same plans must be cancelled. In order to allow the carriers to comply with President Obama’s new guidance on the matter, not only did Mr. Jones need to sign off on the decision, but CoveredCA needed to release the individual carriers from that provision of their contract as well. CoveredCA declined.
President Obama’s request that insurers allow policyholders to keep their plans through 2014 has put ACA supporting insurance commissioners in a tough position. On one hand, they’d like to stand united with their president. On the other hand, the president’s directive is a blow to the current ACA implementation, as it means millions less will sign up for the exchange policies.
If you currently have a policy in California, the strong likelihood is that it is still ending as scheduled. Contact Quotebroker at 866-SUBSIDY to review your 2014 healthcare options, whether that may be through the state health exchange, privately direct-to-carrier, through a small group health plan, Medi-CAL, Medicare, or another healthcare option best suited to you.