A roundup of some of the more unusual items that crossed our desk recently.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak announced that health insurers may continue to renew policies not meeting Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements through 2016.
“The continued twists and turns related to Obamacare confuses consumers and frustrates businesses,” said Doak. “The extension is not a universal remedy for concerns about access and affordability. This change won’t prevent price increases, nor will it ensure that provider networks will stay the same for the next two years. We have decided to leave the renewal decision up to the insurers because of the difficulty they face in trying to adapt to these constantly changing market rules, which I’m sure we haven’t seen the end of.”
The decision came after the Obama administration released updated enrollment figures and announced an extension to the transitional policy originally adopted in November 2013. As of March 1, only 32,882 Oklahomans had selected plans in the federal exchange, which is about a tenth of what federal officials expected.
Under this latest change to the transitional policy, insurance companies will be allowed, at their discretion, to renew non-grandfathered individual and/or small employer plans for policy years beginning on or before Oct. 1, 2016. Non-grandfathered plans are considered those issued after March 23, 2010, but prior to Jan. 1, 2014.
“We have significant concerns about the long-term effects of Obamacare on the health insurance market and continue to question the ever-changing rules, but we must do our job to work through the changes to limit the negative impact on consumers,” said Doak. “This is the essence of state-based regulation and it allows state regulators to make the best choices for our consumers. I believe that allowing the market to continue to operate freely without unnecessary government interference is what will provide the most benefit to consumers.”
Oklahomans with health insurance questions can call the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Consumer Assistance Division at 1-800-522-0071 or visit www.oid.ok.gov.