INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Insurance Commissioner Stephen Robertson said
Wednesday he will not ask insurers to restore plans canceled because of
the federal health care law.
President Barack Obama did an about-face earlier this month when he said
insurance companies would be allowed to offer plans that do not meet
minimum requirements set out in the federal health care law. Obama's
announcement followed weeks of criticism as people began receiving
insurance cancellation notices contradicting his oft-repeated promise that
people would be able to keep their insurance plans under the new law.
But in many states, like Indiana, insurance companies have already phased
out the old, individual plans and re-establishing them would be a lengthy
process. Robertson added Indiana to a growing list of states, including
Maryland, Rhode Island and others, which have decided it would be too much
trouble to meet the president's new request.
"President Obama has asked that Indiana compel insurance companies who
choose to do business in our state to reinstate carefully phased-out
policies at a moment's notice. Such action would seriously destabilize
Indiana's insurance market and create logistical chaos, fueling even more
uncertainty for Hoosiers," Robertson said in a statement Wednesday.
Robertson said Wednesday that insurers have spent months phasing out old
plans and that he cannot force them to restore the canceled plans. The
state estimates 108,000 residents lost coverage because of the new law.
The canceled plans are the latest wrinkle in a flawed start to the core of
the health law. Troubles with the online federal exchange have persisted
since it opened, causing extensive delays for residents in Indiana and
other states which opted not to set up their own marketplace.
Insurers and federal and state regulators have spent years now preparing
for the start of the core of the health care law: the mandate that people
have health insurance and the creation of the insurance exchanges, also
At the core of the latest trouble were rules established on what must be
covered by each plan to meet federal requirements. Individual plans, which
did not meet those minimum requirements, were canceled.
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield spent all year readying plans for Indiana
that meet the new requirements and preparing residents on the old plans to
find new coverage, said spokesman Tony Felts.
"We had filed new products with the Department of Insurance, new insurance
plans that comply with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act so we
withdrew those non-compliant plans in 2013," he said.