President Obama’s November announcement that states could allow insurance carriers to renew canceled pre-Obamacare plans may have resulted in a temporary sense of relief, but cooler heads prevailed to realize that it’s not a one-stop fix for what’s wrong with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Although on the surface it sounds like an easy way to curtail some of the issues generated by the ACA, the reality is that this proposed fix won’t change things for most people, and actually has the potential to make the situation worse.
Suggested, Not Required
For one thing, just because the president suggested that insurance companies renew existing coverage (or offer similar, non-ACA qualified plans) does not mean that the insurance carriers are required to do so, or even legally able to do so. He has simply made it an option that state insurance commissioners and carriers could take or leave, with the understanding that the federal government would temporarily not be enforcing the part of the law that caused these plans to be cancelled.
The majority of carriers have opted to stay the course of discontinuing policies not compliant with the ACA essentials.
Reactions from the states have been all across the board. Some state insurance commissioners are allowing the renewal of existing coverage, while others have declared that they have already progressed too far forward with ACA plans to regress. In states where the renewals are being allowed, it is still up to each individual carrier to decide whether it will renew coverage or provide non-ACA plans.
Health insurance policyholders are rightly shaking their heads with the twists and turns of health care reform this year. Website glitches, low enrollment, and public outrage at the feeling of being railroaded into a plan they don’t want are legitimate gripes. It’s no wonder many Americans caught in the “canceled/not canceled” dance are wondering how the rug that was pulled from under them can be put back again.
Unfortunately, millions of people are losing their coverage at the end of the year. For those people, time Is running out to avoid a gap in coverage. In some states the deadline for an exchange plan is Sunday, December 15th. In most states you have until the 23rd. But if you need coverage, I urge you to contact us right away to avoid delays.
Only time will tell how this is all going to play out, but one thing is certain: We will continue to keep you informed as new developments are sure to arise.
Wiley Long is President of HSA for America, and a passionate advocate for consumer-based solutions that will improve price transparency and lower health insurance and medical costs for people purchasing individual and family health insurance plans.