SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

December 27, 2013

Reversal on cancellations elicits mixed response

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A month after President Barack Obama announced people could keep insurance policies slated for cancellation under the federal health overhaul, the reversal has gotten a mixed response from insurers, state regulators and consumers.

Many consumers complained in October and November after insurers notified them that their individual policies were being canceled because they did not cover pre-existing conditions, hospitalization, prescription drugs or seven other basic benefits required under the law. In pitching the overhaul, Obama had long promised that people who liked their policies could keep them.

Then Obama announced Nov. 14 that companies could continue existing policies that don’t meet the minimum requirements if state regulators approved.

Reporting by The Associated Press shows that older policies are being allowed to continue in 36 states, either because officials allowed it after Obama’s announcement, decided not to intervene in any way or had made a decision earlier in the year to extend noncompliant policies for a period of time.

Even so, insurers were given a choice of whether to continue the policies, and some declined to do so.

In Kentucky, insurers Humana, United Healthcare and Assurant chose to extend old policies, while Anthem and Bluegrass Family Health opted against it. Seven companies in South Carolina are extending individual plans the federal law considers substandard, while six companies are extending plans in the small group market. Twenty are not participating.

In North Carolina, only Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which controls about 80 percent of the state’s market for individual and small-business policies, offered to renew plans covering 474,000 people that had been slated for cancellation. North Carolina’s insurance commissioner allowed the company to raise premiums by between 16 percent and 24 percent.

Prices on noncompliant policies are rising in other states, as well. Anthem Blue Cross in Maine plans to raise premiums by an average of 12 percent on its no-longer-canceled policies. The Blue Cross provider in neighboring New Hampshire expects an average 7 percent increase, an amount that is in line with previous years’ premium increases.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Vehicle Day 2 PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Vehicle Day at Ipswich Public Library Kids got to climb inside big trucks at Vehicle Day Friday, July 25, at Ipswich Public Library.

    July 26, 2014

  • 140725_ET_PBI_MBRALLY_7 [Duplicate] [Duplicate] Thousands rally for Arthur T. in Tewksbury

    TEWKSBURY -- Air horns blared. Signs were hoisted. There were plush giraffes, construction paper giraffes, giraffes on T-shirts and hand drawn giraffes peppered the parking lot of the Market Basket at Stadium Plaza, just down the street from the com

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos 7 Stories

  • 140725_ET_PBI_MBRALLY_1.jpg PHOTO SLIDESHOW: MARKET BASKET RALLY Thousands of people converged at the site of the Tewksbury store this morning for another rally by employees and supporters who feel disenfranchised by the ouster of CEO Arthur T. Demoulas by the company board of directors led by his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas.

    July 25, 2014

  • Hamilton church volunteers assaulted in Guatemala

    A local church group returning to Guatemala City airport after eight days of mission work was attacked Tuesday.

    July 25, 2014

  • BREAKING: Market Basket board to consider sale to Arthur T. Demoulas

    BOSTON — Market Basket’s board of directors this afternoon announced it will consider offers to buy the company, including that from ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. His offer will be considered “along with any other offers previously received and to b

    July 25, 2014 7 Stories