Va. Insured May Have Temporary Pardon Available
McLEAN, Va. — Virginia regulators say policyholders who face possible cancellation of their insurance under the new health care law may have a temporary reprieve available to them.
Virginia is still reviewing whether it can legally implement President Obama’s proposal to suspend cancellations of health-insurance policies affected by the Affordable Care Act.
As a practical matter, though, the Virginia Bureau of Insurance said Wednesday that consumers and insurers can opt through the end of the year for an early renewal of existing policies that could extend through the end of 2014.
Ken Schrad, spokesman for the State Corporation Commission, which regulates insurers, said the Bureau of Insurance is encouraging insurers to offer early renewal but that they can’t be forced to do so.
The early renewals must be completed by the end of the year. That’s because legislation passed in Virginia requires insurance policies sold in the state as of Jan. 1, 2014 to comply with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, Schrad said. It remains unclear whether state law can accommodate the change in course sought by Obama without changes to the actual federal legislation itself.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the largest provider of individual and small business plans in Virginia, has already been offering early renewal to many of its policyholders, said spokesman Scott Golden.
Golden said the company is continuing to work with those members eligible for early renewal, and urging those who are eligible to renew sooner rather than later so that the paperwork can be processed.
Nationally, more than 4 million people who buy their own insurance have gotten cancellation notices because their plans don’t meet requirements of Obama’s health law.
Last week, Obama announced proposals that would temporarily allow those people to keep their insurance, but it will ultimately be up to each state to decide whether that can happen. Most states have not yet decided whether they will implement Obama’s proposed fix: those that have decided have been roughly split between those that will allow the cancellations to be reversed and those that will not.
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