The Corner

Still an Empty Promise

President Obama’s announcement this morning doesn’t give everyone who has received a cancellation notice the right to renew their coverage. Here’s the explanation why, from Doug Badger, who was President George W. Bush’s lead health-policy adviser and headed the White House Office of Leg­isla­tive Affairs:

The HHS letter to state insurance commissioners provides that insurance companies “may” — not “must” — offer to renew plans, provided that their state regulators permit them to do so. 

That is quite different from the federal guaranteed renewability requirement that has applied in the individual and small group markets since 1996. That law requires insurers to give their enrollees the option to renew their coverage, so long as they have kept current on their premiums.

Obamacare and its subsequent regulations stripped consumers enrolled in “non-grandfathered plans” of this choice, resulting in the cancellation notices.  HHS has now informed insurance commissioners that non-grandfathered plans will not have to meet various federal requirements that take effect next January.

So the same federal government that prohibited insurers from renewing plans and required them to send cancellation notices now says that it’s up to state regulators and the insurers themselves as to whether people will be able to keep their coverage.

The federal government that created this crisis now proclaims that it’s not their problem.  And for good measure, they ‘encourage’ state insurance commissioners to adopt a similar posture.

So it appears that under today’s announcement:

1. The feds are suspending (for existing plans that are up for renewal between now and next October) requirements that forced insurers to issue cancellation notices.

2. The state regulators are encouraged to adopt a similar transition rule.

3. If the state regulator does adopt such a rule, insurers may — but need not — offer their enrollees the option of renewing coverage.

In other words, this does not guarantee that people who like their coverage can keep it.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Ten Questions for the ‘Squad’

Democratic infighting reached a fever pitch last week with bickering and personal attacks between members of the “Squad” and other House Democrats. During that period, Squad members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley mostly avoided doing interviews. However, that all ... Read More

Who Is Boris Johnson?

By next week at this time, Boris Johnson will be prime minister of the United Kingdom. Not since Margaret Thatcher has such an outsized personality resided in Number 10 Downing Street. Not since Winston Churchill has such a wit presided over Her Majesty’s Government. Wit is actually the chief reason for ... Read More
Health Care

For Planned Parenthood, No Doctors Need Apply

Poor Leana Wen. She took Planned Parenthood’s propaganda a little too seriously. And now she’s out of a job. For the longest time, Planned Parenthood has insisted that it’s a health-care organization, and it only cares about abortion — supposedly a tiny share of its business — insofar as it’s a ... Read More