Business and Economics

State, Federal Standoff in Healthcare Plan Adjustments

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November 20, 2013 — Indiana’s Department of Insurance says today it is refusing an Obama Administration request that the State work with insurance companies to reinstate canceled health insurance policies as the nation implements the Affordable Care Act.

Indiana Department of Insurance (IDOI) Commissioner Stephen Robertson announced today that the State will not order insurance companies operating in Indiana to reinstate canceled policies, as recently suggested by President Barack Obama.

Robertson said, “President Obama has asked that Indiana compel insurance companies who choose to do business in our state to reinstate carefully phased-out policies at a moment’s notice.  Such action would seriously destabilize Indiana’s insurance market and create logistical chaos, fueling even more uncertainty for Hoosiers. Furthermore, we do not believe that IDOI has the authority under Indiana law to fulfill the President’s untimely request.”

IDOI says the Affordable Care Act’s “early renewal option” enables existing plans to delay new federal mandates for about another year so individuals enrolled in those plans could transition their plans and budgets accordingly.

IDOI says insurers offering an early renewal option to their existing customers worked with IDOI this year to price their insurance products to comply with Indiana’s financial regulatory standards and general market stabilization functions.  The Insurance Department says it, “planned and worked with insurance companies for months to get the proper rates and policy contract language approved and transferred to the federal government by its July 31, 2013 deadline so the health insurance plans would be available effective January 1, 2014.”

IDOI says not every insurance carrier offers an early renewal option to customers, and some insurance carriers that sold products will no longer sell in Indiana’s insurance market in 2014.

Cover Indiana says that state leaders need to address an insurance gap that leaves more than 300,000 Hoosiers without healthcare insurance coverage options.

Cover Indiana is an organization advocating Medicaid and other healthcare coverage expansion in Indiana, pushing for political change to get the state lawmakers and Governor Mike Pence to approve Medicaid expansion as an economic issue and a moral issue.

It says about 348,900 Hoosiers don’t qualify for traditional Medicaid and earn too little to be eligible to purchase insurance in the healthcare marketplace.  It says those Hoosiers are mainly working adults ages 19-64 who work in retail, education, temporary agencies, home health, child care and other jobs with lower wages and minimal benefits, “Without access to some version of Medicaid, they will have NO option for health insurance.”

Cover Indiana says that while the State’s Healthy Indiana Plan was extended, it’s service capacity is 45,000 people maximum, and only through December 2014.  It says all of Indiana’s neighbor states approved new Medicaid programs for their residents, while Indiana has not.

Last week Governor Pence requested a meeting with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss the State’s delay in Medicaid expansion, required by the federal government which Pence says is blocking Indiana’s plan.

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