California health exchange votes to not enact Obama health plan 'fix'
The board overseeing California's health insurance exchange voted unanimously Thursday to stick with its current approach of phasing out substandard health insurance policies by the end of the year, turning aside a plea by President Barack Obama to let those policies continue.
In voting 5-0, Covered California board members said allowing older polices to continue would undermine the new insurance marketplaces. Those policies are being ended because they fail to meet the higher benefit requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act.
"There's no way to make the federal law work without this transition to ACA-compliant plans," board member Susan Kennedy said. "Delaying the transition isn't going to help anyone; it just delays the problems. I actually think that it's going to make a bad situation worse if we complicate it further."
The state insurance commissioner has 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 extra-legal fix involved payments to insurance companies through the "risk corridor". Well, turns out the risk corridor is not even set up yet...
Key Obamacare “Risk Corridor” Payment System Still Hasn’t Been Constructed, “It’s Not Built, Let Alone Tested”…
... [B]eyond the troubles with enrollment forms, which have been evident since the marketplace opened on Oct. 1, insurers are anticipating problems if IT workers from the government and outside contractors cannot soon build other parts of the online system that are running behind schedule.
For instance, starting in mid-December, the government and each participating insurance company are supposed to perform a monthly “reconciliation,” to make sure that each side has the same list of new customers, the benefits chosen by the consumers and the government subsidies for which they qualify. That feature of the online system, however, has not been built, according to people close to the industry and government officials.
Nor can the system handle another feature, scheduled to be ready when health plans take effect on Jan. 1, in which insurers are to be paid extra government money, through a method known as “risk corridors,” if their new customers are old and require expensive medical care. “It’s not built, let alone tested,” the industry official said....
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