CA Health Exchange Board Votes Not To Allow Extensions For Non-Compliant Plans (updated)

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, November 21, 2013

The decision comes after President Obama’s recent suggestion that insurers be allowed to decide whether they want to extend the policies for a year.

The exchange’s executive director, Peter Lee, raised concerns about pushing back the cancelations for a few months or up to a year.

“Covered California has spent a lot of time structuring a marketplace that’s best for consumers, standard benefit designs are an example of that, so if we were to say March 31st is a better idea, we would then need to seek to have mutual agreement between us, and each of 11 health plans to do March 31st," said Lee.

“The only thing we could have done is delay a problem. To delay a problem in the middle of open enrollment, that’s actually working really well. And rather than just delay that, let’s be honest, forthright, help people out, address it as much as possible.”

Covered California also announced new efforts designed to mitigate confusion caused by insurance market changes. A new consumer hotline will be available on Monday to answer ‘complicated’  consumer questions. As well as a minor push back of the date consumers have to pay premiums. But California’s insurance commissioner Dave Jones says he’s surprised and disappointed the exchange did not take advantage of the President’s proposal. 

“It’s simply not true that all the existing policies out there are junk insurance. To the contrary, California has strong mandates.”  

The exchange’s decision has the support of California’s insurance industry. 


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