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State Regulators Unsure of Obama’s “Fix” for Dropped Health Policies

Many states are hesitant to embrace President Barack Obama’s “fix” to keep Americans from losing health insurance plans that do not comply with his healthcare reform...
November 20, 2013

Many states are hesitant to embrace President Barack Obama’s “fix” to keep Americans from losing health insurance plans that do not comply with his healthcare reform. Last Thursday, the president announced that a one-year extension would be given to existing policies. But saying it and doing it are two different things.

“There are so many moving parts to this process. When you tamper with one, no matter how good your intention is, you have intended consequences and unintended consequences,” said Ben Nelson, chief executive officer of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Louisiana Insurance Commissioner and President of the NAIC Jim Donelon told CNN that he was “pleased and surprised at the unanimity across the board in concern” regarding the timing of the president’s one-year fix and how it will impact the solvency of small insurance companies.

“The problem is you can’t change the rules at the last minute when the game’s about to start. And the rules have given benefits to lots of policyholders – guarantee issue, caps on coverage for older policyholders,” Donelon said, adding that “it threatens the solvency of the system, and it threatens to spike the cost to policyholders across the board.”

So far, California, Colorado, Florida, South Carolina, Ohio and Oregon said they would act on Obama’s offer to give a one-year extension to existing policies. Washington, Vermont and Rhode Island – all of which are running their own state-based insurance exchanges – said they would not.

Many State Regulators Uncertain About Healthcare Fix (Reuters 11/17/13)

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