Insurers: Obamacare Fix Could 'Destabilize' Markets, Raise Costs

Thursday, 14 Nov 2013 01:41 PM

 

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President Barack Obama's fix for canceled health plans could "destabilize" the insurance market and lead to higher costs for consumers without further steps, America's Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade group, said on Thursday.

"Changing the rules after health plans have already met the requirements of [Obamacare] could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums," AHIP President Karen Ignagni said in a statement.

"Additional steps must be taken to stabilize the marketplace and mitigate the adverse impact on consumers," she said.

Only last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a Senate panel she doubted that retroactively permitting insurers to sell canceled policies "can work very well since companies are now in the market with an array of new plans. Many have actually added consumer protections in the last three-and-a-half years."

It's unclear what the impact of Thursday's changes will be for the millions of people who have already had their plans canceled. While officials said insurance companies will now be able to offer those people the option to renew their old plans, companies are not required to take that step.

Insurance companies will be required to inform consumers who want to keep canceled plans about the protections that are not included under those plans. Customers will also be notified that new options are available offering more coverage and in some cases, tax credits to cover higher premiums.

Under Obama's plan, insurance companies would not be allowed to sell coverage deemed subpar under the law to new customers, marking a difference with legislation that House Republicans intend to put to a vote on Friday.

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press were used in this report.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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