Aetna, Cigna Could Offer Less Costly Alternatives for Residents
Health plans offered by insurers that are opting out of Covered California could be a less costly option for state residents who are facing higher premiums under the cancellation of their current coverage, KQED's "State of Health" reports (Aliferis, "State of Health," KQED, 11/22).
About one million individual policyholders in California recently were notified that their current insurance plans will be discontinued at the end of the year because the policies do not meet minimum coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act.
Last week, Obama announced a plan that would allow insurers in 2014 to continue selling insurance plans even if they do not meet the law's requirements.
However, the Covered California board rejected the plan, unanimously deciding that insurers in the state will not be allowed to continue selling policies in 2014 that do not comply with the ACA (California Healthline, 11/22).
Details of Insurers Leaving State
Earlier this year, Aetna announced it would stop offering individual health plans in California after this year. Meanwhile, Cigna said it would not offer plans via Covered California, but both companies are selling pre-ACA individual plans in the state until Dec. 15 and Dec. 23, respectively.
Covered California spokesperson Anne Gonzales confirmed that those carriers can offer policies through the end of the year that do not comply with the ACA and that such policies might be less expensive than plans offered in the exchange. However, the policies would "need to become compliant when [they renew] next year," Gonzales said.
Cheaper Plans Could Lead to Higher Bills
Jason Andrew -- CEO of Stone Meadow Benefits -- said plans that do not comply with the ACA could be subject to rate increases in 2014 or medical underwriting. Under the law, insurers can only change rates once a year, and medical underwriting is not permitted after Jan. 1, 2014.
In addition, about one-third of those with canceled policies will be eligible for subsidies through the ACA. Andrew said, "If you're subsidy-eligible, you're really going to benefit by enrolling in the exchange" ("State of Health," KQED, 11/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.