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Questions are mounting for those with individual health insurance policies, after receiving notices that their plans will be cancelled because they don't meet the requirements of the new federal healthcare law.KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports on what it means for local consumers.
During hearings this week in Washington on the Affordable Care Act, lawmakers criticized President Obama for his vow that those who like their health plans would be able to keep their plans.
Trevor Croley is the president of Croley Insurance and Financial, a service of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Missouri. He says the amount of calls into his Springfield office have been overwhelming, with consumers; amid the confusion and frustration, wanting to know their options.
Croley says that those who receive notices have a couple of choices. One is to find a new plan. Another, as most carriers are offering, is what’s called an early renewal option, allowing consumers to renew their existing plan for another cycle. For instance, if renewed by December 1…
“That would allow you to maintain your current health plan through, for example, December of 2014, at that point and time you have to roll into the new health plans based on the Affordable Care Act,” Croley said.
Croley says the renewal option is a way for customers to avoid paying potentially more for a plan offered through the federal insurance marketplace. But he notes that it doesn’t mean you can’t look at other health plans, recommending people examine whether they’re eligible for federal subsidies.
“If you’re eligible for those tax credits and subsidies it may be in your best interest to eventually move to one of the new 2014 programs. But to just do the early renewal option, all that does is give you the ability to lock in your premium for another year.”
Other companies that serve individual Missouri plans like Aetna are doing the same, according to Anjie Coplin, director of communications for Aetna’s West Region.
A written statement by the company reads, “In general, members can stay on their current plan until their next renewal date – which in some cases could run well into 2014. Once a member reaches the end of their current policy period, they will need to select an ACA compliant plan.”
Neither Croley nor Coplin would disclose the number of letters their companies have sent out.
Meanwhile, US Congressman Billy Long of Missouri’s 7th District is among the lawmakers supporting a one-year exemption from the law’s individual mandate. He says the people whose plans are being terminated because they don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act “will be penalized if they don’t find coverage.” His proposal would amount to the same delay that the President has already given for the business mandate.