1 Million Californians' Health Insurance Canceled

Image: 1 Million Californians' Health Insurance Canceled

Wednesday, 13 Nov 2013 11:15 AM

By Melanie Batley

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More than 1 million Californians have received cancellation notices on existing healthcare plans as the state readies itself to implement Obamacare through its own insurance exchange.

California State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones told CBS Sacramento that insurance companies are being forced to terminate many existing plans because the new federal healthcare law requires policies to offer minimum levels of coverage.

A number of California insurers, however, have already been forced to extend current plans for several months due to administrative errors. Anthem Blue Cross of California has given a two-month extension to around 104,000 individual policy-holders after it failed to issue the required 90-day cancellation notice. Blue Shield of California is extending 113,000 policies by three months after it failed to provide a 180-day notice to its customers.

News of the cancellations in California will likely add to the mounting pressure on President Barack Obama to find a way to halt the policy terminations which are happening across the country despite his repeated assurances that anyone who wanted to keep their current coverage would be able to do so.

On Tuesday, former President Bill Clinton called on Obama to make good on his pledge, saying, "I personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, the president should honor the commitment that the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got."

Meanwhile, California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein also joined the calls Tuesday for current policies to be honored. She announced that she will co-sponsor a bill authored by fellow Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana to require insurance companies to continue offering their existing coverage plans, Politico reports.

Last week, in a nationally televised interview with NBC News, Obama apologized to people whose policies have been canceled. The White House has since signaled that it is pursuing "administrative" solutions to stop the cancellations.

House Republicans are also pushing their own legislation to tackle the issue. Their measure, scheduled for debate on Friday, would ensure that any policy effective in 2013 would be grandfathered in to allow people to keep their current plans for a year.

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