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HealthCare Checkup

The Seattle Times health-care team tracks the local impact of the Affordable Care Act.

November 14, 2013 at 11:31 AM

Obama administration urges state insurance commissioners to carry out new policy

The Obama administration is encouraging state insurance regulators to carry out the president’s new policy, announced this morning, that would allow Americans to keep their current health-care coverage even if they have received notices that their coverage will be terminated at year’s end because it does not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent a letter to state insurance commissioners today encouraging them to cooperate with the proposed administrative fix, which the President announced at a news conference.

The letter acknowledges that some individuals and small businesses, having been notified their current policies will be cancelled, have looked for coverage through the online insurance marketplaces and have found the premiums for those policies are higher than those they currently have.

“In light of this circumstances, under the following transitional policy, health insurance issuers may choose to continue coverage that would otherwise be terminated or cancelled, and affected individuals and small businesses may choose to re-enroll in such coverage,” the letter states. “Under this transitional policy, health insurance coverage in the individual or small group market that is renewed for a policy year starting between January 1, 2014, and October 1, 2014, and associated group health plans of small businesses, will not be considered to be out of compliance with the market reforms specified [in the Affordable Care Act].”

In Washington state, approximately 290,000 people have individual health insurance policies. Most have received letters from their insurer notifying them their policies will be terminated at the end of the year.

The state Office of the Insurance Commissioner is expected to issue a statement shortly in response to the President’s announcement.

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