Covered California Mulls Extending Cancelled Health Policies
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Aired 11/19/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.
David White, health insurance broker
Linda Keller, executive vice president, Intercare
On the one hand, California's health exchange is doing much better than the troubled national website offering new Obamacare health plans. On the other hand, President Obama's new plan to allow insurers to extend substandard health policies through next year is adding an extra level of confusion into the process.
Covered California executive director Peter Lee said Monday that the health exchange will likely decide if it will reinstate 1 million cancelled policies by the week's end.
"California is looking very closely to how we respond to the call of the President," he said. "Having a risk pool is critical to the ongoing viability and the out-of-the-gate viability of exchanges."
But it's not clear that insurance companies would extend the coverage in any case.
California's Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has said, Covered California should extend the policies.
"California has more than 1 million people with non-grandfathered policies facing cancellation; they should be given the opportunity to keep their existing coverage next year," he said. "I am calling on all health insurers in California to let their policyholders keep their existing coverage for an additional year if they want it."
Covered California requires its insurers to cancel policies which don't meet the Affordable Care Act's minimum coverage rules.
Other states, such as Massachusetts, announced they won't honor the president's request.
Despite the uncertainty for some, San Diegans are enrolling in Obamacare at a rate that exceeds the state average.