Covered California launches a hotline today to field calls related to policy cancellations.
It was one of five measures the exchange board approved last week to ease the burden of some policy cancellations. Actions of the exchange board last week were overshadowed by its decision to forego the federal suggestion to extend coverage for individual, non-grandfathered insurance policies.
To smooth the impact of premium rate hikes on non-grandfathered, non-ACA-compliant policies, the board voted to:
- Set up a hotline dedicated to handling concerns about cancelled policies, starting today;
- Move the deadline back by a week for premium payments (to Jan. 5, 2014), as well as the last day to apply for Jan. 1 coverage. To have exchange benefits begin Jan. 1, the new deadline for applications is Dec. 23, rather than Dec. 15;
- Send a mailer to the approximately 1.3 million Californians affected by policy cancellations, explaining policy choices for those people, many of whom will be eligible for exchange subsidies;
- Closely monitor the impact of policy changes for those 1.3 million affected Californians; and
- Help insurance agents and enrollment assisters clearly diagnose and handle the sometimes-complicated insurance situations faced by individuals with non-grandfathered policies.
The board also voted to require criminal background checks and fingerprinting for everyone in the assister program. The idea generated controversy when it was first introduced in March. It’s designed to protect consumers, said Covered California executive director Peter Lee.
“The consumer is front and foremost in Covered California’s policy decision process,” Lee said.