The 5-member Covered California Board voted unanimously yesterday to uphold its December 31, 2013 deadline for health insurance companies to discontinue plans that don’t meet ACA standards. The board cited that "extending the deadline offers no benefit to the consumer and may create confusion about accessing affordable health care coverage through Covered California". The Board also extended the deadline to enroll for January 1 coverage to December 23, established a hotline for affected individuals to reach enrollment assistance, and will be sending information directly to the nearly 1.13 million affected individuals to provide clear options for coverage. As of November 13, Covered California had so far been responsible for about 1/3 of the country's exchange enrollments and has recently
reached over 10,000 completed applications per day with more than 360,000 applications completed since October 1. For the full press release from Covered California click here
Since the opening of the healthcare exchanges in October there has been a lot of press about how the rollout has gone, especially surrounding the serious technical problems on the federal exchange website, healthcare.gov, which have made it difficult for individuals to enroll in health insurance. The preliminary numbers released yesterday demonstrated how much of an effect the technical issues have had. At the end of the first month, 106,185 people had purchased coverage through an exchange, (25% through the federal exchange), a small step towards the Obama administration's goal of enrolling 7 million people by March 31. (An additional 396,000 were qualified for Medicaid or CHIP.) Alongside the website troubles, insurance providers have begun sending cancellation notices to holders of individual policies that do not meet ACA coverage requirements.
In response, President Obama announced today that private insurers would be allowed to continue offering individual non-ACA compliant policies for an additional year. However, it will be left to each state insurance commissioner to decide whether to allow these plans in their state and to insurers to decide whether they want to continue offering those policies.
It is important to note that today's announcement from the President only pertains to the individual policy market and does not affect employer sponsored group plans. We will continue keeping you up-to-date on the latest healthcare reform news.