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Covered California Health Exchange Rejects Insurance Policy Extensions

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The board overseeing California's health insurance exchange has voted to stick with its current approach of phasing out by year's end health insurance policies that do not meet current benefit requirements.

The Covered California Board of Directors voted 5-0 on Thursday to hold steady on its current approach, defying President Barack Obama's recent flip on one crucial aspect of the Affordable Care Act.

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The state insurance commissioner had said that 1.1 million Californians are receiving notices that their current individual health insurance policies will be discontinued in 2014 because they do not meet the benefit requirements of the federal health care overhaul.

That has angered some policy holders, many of whom will see their monthly premiums and deductibles rise sharply with the new plans being offered. It also flies in the face of promises Obama made repeatedly when he said people who liked their current health insurance policies could keep them under his health insurance reforms.

The president has since backtracked and has asked states to allow insurance companies to extend those older policies.

But many insurance companies oppose that, saying doing so would undermine the new markets being set up under Obama's law. They also said they did not have enough time to rebuild policies they already had discontinued.

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