Health insurer Blue Shield of California said on Tuesday it will delay policy cancellations for 113,000 customers who were due to lose coverage at the end of the year as a result of new requirements from President Barack Obama's healthcare law.
Under pressure from California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, Blue Shield agreed to allow customers on the individual insurance market to receive a 90-day extension of their plans.
The California extensions come amid a national political storm over hundreds of thousands of Americans losing plans that do not comply with the requirements of Obamacare. Obama had repeatedly pledged Americans could keep their plans if they liked them as he rallied support for the 2010 law.
Blue Shield of California Life and Health Insurance Company agreed to the delay after Jones threatened legal action against the company for providing only 90 days' notice to policyholders instead of 180 days, the insurer said. The affected policyholders will be able to keep their plans through March.
"Allowing consumers to stay in their existing plans longer is the right thing to do for policyholders," Jones said in a statement. "State and federal law allow Californians to keep their current policies beyond December 31."
The insurance department cautioned that policyholders who are eligible for subsidies available through California's insurance exchange likely will want to select new policies by Dec. 15 to start receiving the premium assistance at the new year.
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