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Obamacare announcement 'causing a lot of confusion,' insurance commissioner says (Montana Dem.)
The Billings Gazette ^ | November 14, 2013 | Mike Dennison, Gazette State Bureau

Posted on 11/15/2013 2:15:57 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

HELENA — The Obama administration’s attempt Thursday to allow people to keep old health-insurance plans slated for cancellation is creating more confusion in an already tumultuous market, Montana’s insurance commissioner said.

“This really does kind of turn everything on its head, in terms of how we’ve been operating for the past three-and-a-half years,” said Monica Lindeen, a Democrat. “This is causing a lot of confusion for all of the (health insurance) markets across Montana.”

Montana’s major health insurers — who sent cancellation notices to as many as 20,000 individual policyholders a few weeks ago — also said Thursday they’re not sure how or whether they can take those back.

“How do you implement it this late in the game?” said Todd Lovshin, Montana vice president for PacificSource. “There are a lot of determinations that we need to know before we as a company know what to do.”

The policies are scheduled for cancellation because they don’t meet new, 2014 requirements under the Affordable Care Act, known popularly as “Obamacare.”

President Barack Obama, facing mounting criticism over cancellation of individual and small-business policies that won’t comply with the ACA, announced Thursday a “transitional policy” allowing insurers to continue to sell those plans through September of next year.

Consumers are supposed to be able to buy new, compliant policies through the online marketplace, but the federally run marketplace in Montana and 35 others states has barely been working.

Lindeen’s office estimated that cancellation notices went to policyholders affecting about 26,000 people in Montana — a small piece of the overall health insurance marketplace in the state.

While the president’s announcement intends to allow health insurers to keep selling old plans, instead of canceling them, Lindeen said it raises multiple questions about how companies or her office should proceed.

For example, insurers, knowing they had to have ACA-compliant policies for 2014, did not price their old plans for next year.

If they’re going to continue to offer those plans starting in January, they must calculate the cost and submit the price to Lindeen’s office for review — a process that can take several months.

Lindeen said she’s asking Montana’s insurers what they plan to do, before she decides what her authority may be.

Lovshin said his company is assessing what’s possible and what the regulations allow, before deciding what to do. It has been sending notices to about 5,000 affected policyholders, telling them they must get a new, ACA-compliant policy when their policy expires within the next year.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, the state’s largest private health insurer, also said it’s reviewing the president’s announcement.

“We will continue to work with the federal and state government on how this approach will be implemented,” said John Doran, director of strategic marketing services for Blue Cross. “Soon, we will be reaching out to consumers who will have new options as a result of this announcement.”

Blue Cross sent notices to about 13,500 policyholders this fall, telling them their old policy was being discontinued as of January, and that they should buy new ones.

Lindeen also said she’s been telling consumers who received cancellation notices they don’t have to take the replacement offered by the company, but can shop around for a better deal, and see if they qualify for a federal subsidy to help pay for the new policy.

However, one can’t get a subsidy without using the online marketplace — and the website in Montana hasn’t been working well, which is a problem, Lindeen said.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; US: Montana
KEYWORDS: democrats; insurance; montana; obamacare

1 posted on 11/15/2013 2:15:57 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain—the Great and Powerful O.


2 posted on 11/15/2013 2:22:15 AM PST by Keli Kilohana (Editor, ZARR CHASM CHRONICAL [sic], Sore, WV)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Cluster FUBARry.


3 posted on 11/15/2013 2:28:12 AM PST by tflabo (Truth or Tyranny)
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The asshat killed my insurance!!!


4 posted on 11/15/2013 2:42:51 AM PST by Gene Eric (Don't be a statist!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

What we said when we said what we said was that if you like your plan what we said was you can keep your plan when we said what we said till the next election. Period.


5 posted on 11/15/2013 2:53:23 AM PST by Berlin_Freeper (posted a total of 2,382 threads and 20,000 replies)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
We have the scum on the ropes.
Time now to get answers from:
1. Bengazi
2. IRS
3. Fast & Furious.
Many more but these three are a good start.
In all he said he would get to the bottom of them. I think he put them on the bottom.
WEEPY DO YOUR JOB. . . . .
6 posted on 11/15/2013 3:00:28 AM PST by DeaconRed (ZERO Lied - one too many times. The walls are tumbling down. Couldn't happen to a more deserving SOB)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Nevertheless, in the majority of cases cancellation letters have been sent. The cancellations are not immediate, for the most part.

Insurance co COULD rescind those letters just as easily as they sent them.

But in any event, the entire law is a beast that must be killed.


7 posted on 11/15/2013 3:22:33 AM PST by Adder (No, Mr. Franklin, we could NOT keep it.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

wasn’t Max Baucus just a key key player in forcing this abomination into “law”

thanks Montana


8 posted on 11/15/2013 4:20:49 AM PST by silverleaf (Age takes a toll: Please have exact change)
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To: Gene Eric

your insurance is only mostly dead, lord Obama says you can keep it

and you can take that one to the bank

sarc


9 posted on 11/15/2013 4:22:07 AM PST by silverleaf (Age takes a toll: Please have exact change)
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To: Adder

No, they cannot rescind those letters. It is illegal. Nor can they legally sell the old policies for next year.

Regardless of what Zero says.

And if they did ignore the law, go by O’s proclamation, and sell them anyway, they would get sued by everybody - and they know it.

So they won’t.


10 posted on 11/15/2013 4:27:24 AM PST by patton (“Really? Have you tried chewing cloves?”)
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To: Adder

ya think to reverse things all insurance companies have to do is re-write those letters?

Obama isn’t changing the stupid law, he’s just unilaterally telling insurance companies he isn’t going to prosecute them for breaking it (!)

but who says than insurance company clients, vendors, medical providers, COMPETITORS who ARE complying with the law (and thus being placed at a financial disadvantage) ....... can’t sue a company for not complying with the law?

obama never showed himself to be more of an ignorant horse’s a$$ regarding business than with this move


11 posted on 11/15/2013 4:27:24 AM PST by silverleaf (Age takes a toll: Please have exact change)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Gee, it is almost like 0bama hasn’t a clue about what he is doing, like he doesn’t know how the private sector works, how could this be? He did go to Columbia and Harvard after all...


12 posted on 11/15/2013 4:31:31 AM PST by machman
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Obama doesn’t have the authority to do this.

Insurance companies are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.

The smart ones will simply move to another market.


13 posted on 11/15/2013 5:20:25 AM PST by Safrguns (PM me if you like to play Minecraft!)
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To: patton

But policy holders can sue because of Zero’s unilateral and peremptory administration decision which he intends to grant everyone a waiver. He granted 1200 waivers to others in plain violation of the law.

Heck there is nothing about this law that IS legal except that it is called a law.

But I don’t care about the insurance co.s or any of the aholeys in government at any level. I am concerned with the poor folks who find themselves without insurance or any way to get it at a cost even CLOSE to what they were paying and now have nothing.
All I was suggesting is that the cancellations are not immediate. There is a space where something can be done.


14 posted on 11/15/2013 7:43:05 AM PST by Adder (No, Mr. Franklin, we could NOT keep it.)
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To: Adder
Insurance co COULD rescind those letters just as easily as they sent them.

That's good news, and Obama agrees.

Before I go all in; is your experience in the insurance industry greater than Obama's?

15 posted on 11/15/2013 8:54:33 AM PST by laotzu
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I pay (or at least did pay) premiums of about $300 a month for a very good policy through my employer...a fairly large company. Just found out that they're dropping this plan and contracted with an exchange. Basically they're going to give us a cash allowance and let us pick our own plan through this exchange.

Now the only question is how much is the allowance and will it make up for the more expensive plan with less benefits that I KNOW I will have.

I'm losing my plan. Thanks to Obamacare.

16 posted on 11/15/2013 9:03:14 AM PST by DouglasKC
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To: Adder
I don’t care about the insurance co.s....I am concerned with the poor folks

Barak; is that you?!!

17 posted on 11/15/2013 9:03:32 AM PST by laotzu
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To: Adder; silverleaf; laotzu; patton
Nevertheless, in the majority of cases cancellation letters have been sent. The cancellations are not immediate, for the most part. Insurance co COULD rescind those letters just as easily as they sent them.

ya think to reverse things all insurance companies have to do is re-write those letters?

No, it is not as easy as saying, “oops, sorry, just ignore that previous cancellation letter”.

Even if the cancellations don’t go into effect until January 1, the cancellations have already been keyed and processed, not only of the individual policies but of the very plans themselves and they have to be reinstated in the insurance company’s computer systems, and being that I worked for two different 3rd party insurance administrators, I can tell you that’s not as easy as it sounds – there is no “back” or “do-over” button in these systems. Some of these systems are, behind the pretty interfaces, fairly ancient programming wise – say like one company I worked for with an IBM AS400 mainframe program. And depending on the system, once the plan is reinstated, it might be possible to automatically re-enroll all the previously cancelled people in batches but if they are anything like some of the systems I’ve worked with, individual policy holders will have to be manually re-enrolled.

And that is assuming that the policy holder even wants to be re–enrolled, hasn’t found another plan/coverage elsewhere. So the insurance company that sent those cancellation notices are going to have to send not only letters to cancelled members telling them that their policy is not going to be cancelled after all (and that is assuming that state’s insurance commission will even allow it), and send them all the information on the Exchanges that Teh One said yesterday that they “must” provide (which probably have to be reviewed for legal compliance), the insurance company is going to have to ask the cancelled members if they want to be reinstated and wait for their answer in writing before reinstating them. Look at the calendar and also consider that this is in the insurance biz, their busiest time of year what with so many employers holding open enrollment.

Then the premium billing systems will have to be updated and then claims systems will have to be updated (while they “communicate”, they are often not in the same system as the enrollment system, because of HIPAA, enrollment and premium billing systems are either separate or completely firewalled from the claims processing systems), then pharmacy vendors’ systems have to be updated, the broker’s commissions have to be reinstated, the insured will in some cases have to be mailed a new insurance card(s), possibly issued a new ID number. Then systems that allow providers; doctors’ offices and hospitals to verify coverage¸ will also probably have to be updated with the reinstatement information.

Then pity the poor insurance company customer service reps, who I’m guessing starting first thing this morning, were inundated with calls from members who got cancellation notices, asking what they need to do next to continue their coverage and at this point, I’m quite sure the insurance company’s don’t have that answer and are probably talking to their legal teams and with their states’ insurance commissioners. Note that Obama said that the delay would “allow” insurance companies to continue coverage for one year to existing members under their old plans that were determined to not meet the minimum coverage requirements under the ACA, not that they “had” to reinstate these plans. Add to all this that the underwriters and actuaries are right now working furiously to determine if come January 1, what sort of rate increase those reinstated plans will be subject to, and given all the costs to the insurance companies I mentioned above, plus the fact that this is only a temporary “fix”, I will guarantee that there will be premium increases.

So once again, take a look at the calendar. Even if a member who got a cancellation notice effective January 1 wants to continue with their existing plan, that’s simply not going to happen with the wave of Obama’s hand. I would bet that even if the insurance company decides to continue those plans and let previously cancelled members to stay in those plans, it is not going to happen overnight and in many cases not even by January 1.

This is a “cluster fog” of epic proportions but then that’s what you get when we have a POTUS who never worked in the private sector, never had a real job and who only has “Community Organizer” on his resume and IMO, probably wants this to fail in order to demonize the private sector, the GOP, the Tea Party, and justify a single payer system, i.e. nationalized healthcare and further unconstitutionally grab more power away from Congress and from the people.

But I don’t care about the insurance co.s or any of the aholeys in government at any level. I am concerned with the poor folks who find themselves without insurance or any way to get it at a cost even CLOSE to what they were paying and now have nothing.

Before I go all in; is your experience in the insurance industry greater than Obama's?

I care about people who have been left high and dry also in this Obamination, I know some in this boat, but I also care about the insurance companies and their employees and their share holders, and while we all like to bitch about them when they screw up or don’t seem to be “compassionate” enough, the bottom line is that the healthcare system in the US and the insurance companies were doing just fine, was the best in the world before d*c*less and Nancy Botox and their Marxist minions got involved.

End of rant.

18 posted on 11/15/2013 1:49:39 PM PST by MD Expat in PA
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To: Adder

Adder said, “But in any event, the entire law is a beast that must be killed.”

I agree with you that the law must be killed. That’s why I created the following petition at WhiteHouse.gov.

Please Sign My Petition to President Obama
Folks,

I wanted to let you know about a new petition I created on We the People, a new feature on WhiteHouse.gov, and ask for your support. Will you add your name to mine and then forward this note to all of your conservative friends? If this petition gets 100,000 signatures by December 15, 2013, the White House will review it and respond!

We the People allows anyone to create and sign petitions asking the Obama Administration to take action on a range of issues. If a petition gets enough support, the Obama Administration will issue an official response.

You can view and sign the petition here:

http://wh.gov/lBNrH

Here’s some more information about this petition:

Repeal The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)[Obamacare]!

America Wants and Deserves Affordable, Personal, and Portable Healthcare!

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [Obamacare] is fundamentally flawed. Trying to fix it is a waste of time and an excuse to continue covering up those basic flaws.

The only FIX for Obamacare is to repeal the entire bill, start over and create an affordable, personal, portable national health care plan.


19 posted on 11/15/2013 2:16:56 PM PST by Veritas_est (Truth is)
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To: MD Expat in PA

Before I go all in; is your experience in the insurance industry greater than Obama’s?

IN the industry...about the same as his: none. WITH the industry, a heckuva lot more than him.

While I would like to feel sorry for the insurance cos, they were part and parcel in bed with this because oh goody, we gonna git some. You recall how the admin bought them and the drug companies off during the “negotiation” phase and they made nary a peep. Maybe they didn’t actively push it but they certainly did not fight against it like they did in 1994-ish.
So no,. I do not have a lot of sympathy for them...the rank and file bodies, sure..they are in a tough spot...the head honchos? no even a little bit.
From Libertarian News in 2010:
“t should be clear by now that the major players in the healthcare industry overwhelmingly lobbied in support of Obamacare and have and will continue to reap vast rewards. So then you may ask who exactly is this great villain the Democrats have dubbed as the evil “health insurance industry”? The name that consistently comes up is America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). According to wikipedia, “America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) is a national political advocacy and trade association with about 1,300 member companies that sell health insurance coverage to more than 200 million Americans ...”

I personally hope they choke on it.


20 posted on 11/15/2013 2:55:54 PM PST by Adder (No, Mr. Franklin, we could NOT keep it.)
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To: MD Expat in PA

Sandra Fl*ck would buy a non-compliant policy that does not cover abortion, and immediately file a class action, as the policy is not compliant with the law.

Insurance companies are not stupid.


21 posted on 11/16/2013 2:11:01 AM PST by patton (“Really? Have you tried chewing cloves?”)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Obama's word is not LAW. Insurance companies don't have to do squat unless Congress passes a change.
Everyone on the MSM are acting like Obama has spoken, therefore it's Law. What a joke!
22 posted on 11/16/2013 2:18:45 AM PST by MaxMax (Pay Attention and you'll be pissed off too! FIRE BOEHNER, NOW!)
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