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Despite Obama Promise, Cuomo Preserves Health Insurance Status Quo

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

If you like your health plan, you can keep it.

Last week, President Obama restored that pledge, after he was forced to admit the Affordable Care Act had in fact caused many people to lose insurance coverage deemed insufficient under the sweeping federal health law.

In reversing course, Obama said insurers would once again be allowed to offer policy-holders that cancelled coverage, but he said the decision would be up to the states.

This week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that, No, insurance carriers can't rescind the cancellation of policies for 2014. In other words, if a New Yorker's insurance was cancelled because the policy was inadequate under the ACA, they will not get to keep their insurance, but will need to buy a new policy, either through the state insurance exchange or on their own.

“We’ve had very good success with our program, so we don’t see any reason to change it now,” Cuomo told a news reporter Monday after a media event. “If [a cancelled policy] is causing a problem for someone, we’ll certainly take a look at it, but we’re not having those kinds of problems in New York.”

New York already had some of the most expensive insurance in the country, because insurers had a long list of benefits required by the state.

“It’s a highly regulated state, with a robust benefit package, with a number of mandated benefits in play,” said Leslie Moran, senior vice president of the New York Health Plan Association, which represents the insurance industry. “So far, we have not heard about a tremendous amount of problems.”

Officials say insurance premiums are coming down overall — but some people are reporting dramatic increases in their costs for next year.

State officials estimate 100,000 people with individual plans have received cancellation notices. Officials declined to say how many people covered under small business policies lost coverage, but it could be as many as 1.3 million.

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