SACRAMENTO (KCBS)— California’s insurance commissioner has reached an agreement with one of the state’s major health insurance companies to delay its cancellation of more than 115,000 individual policies under the federal Affordable Care Act.
The agreement announced Tuesday by Commissioner Dave Jones will let policyholders keep their lower-priced policies through the first three months of 2014.
Blue Shield of California had notified the thousands of individual policyholders that their plans don’t qualify under the Affordable Care Act, so they’d have to buy a new one, with higher premiums, effective December 31st.
Jones objected that the company gave policy holders just 90 days’ notice when they were required to give six months.
“We have intervened and have required Blue Shield to give these 115,000 customers in the individual market whose policies are regulated by the department of insurance the opportunity to stay in their current policies with their current doctors and hospitals at their current rates until March 31st,” said Jones.
Jones said they must notify Blue Shield by December 6th if they want to maintain their current coverage.
Blue Shield spokesman Steve Shivinsky said it would be best if every individual policy took effect Jan. 1. The delay could cost unwary customers more for their annual deductibles, lost tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies.
He also highly recommended that those customers take a look at the state insurance exchange, Covered California, immediately to shop for a new policy beyond the deadline and to see if they qualify for government subsidies.
The commissioner will be reviewing other insurer cancellations, to see if action is necessary and he estimates that more than a million Californians will see their policies end up from Covered California’s figure, of 900,000.
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