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State Insurance Commissioner reaction

By Eric Singer, Anchor/Reporter , e.singer@krdo.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:19:43 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 15 2013 01:37:58 PM CST

Learning more about healthcare change and if it may help consumers

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo -

President Obama's position to help thousands of consumers with their healthcare and the changes because of the Affordable Health Care Act got reaction from our state's Division of Insurance.  I emailed the Insurance Commissioner to get her take on the situation. 

Here is part of her email regarding the President's plans, "In Colorado, we share the same concerns the President expressed today about
cancelled health insurance policies. The Division of Insurance (DOI) remains
committed to providing access to coverage and consumer choice to Coloradoans.
 
In the coming days and weeks we will work closely with insurance carriers in Colorado
regarding any changes that need to be made as a result of the President’s comments.
We will also work with consumers to alert them of any possible changes.
 
It is important to note that many carriers have already offered their members the choice
of early renewal, allowing a current plan to carry into 2014. However, some carriers
have chosen not to offer this option.
 
Since April of this year, the Division has issued bulletins on what health insurance
carriers can and can’t do in Colorado regarding existing plans. These bulletins provided
guidance on what information must be included in letters to their members. Insurance
carriers have also been required to make consumers aware of other options such as the
possibility of buying insurance with another carrier, and shopping on Connect for Health
Colorado, Colorado’s health exchange.
 
While early renewal may be an option for some, we want to emphasize that anyone
choosing that option will not have a health plan with the coverage and protections
required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

To renew a plan, the carrier must offer such renewals. Not all health insurance
carriers have offered early renewals to members, as some carriers have
eliminated plans for 2014.
· Early renewal only applies to consumers who have these existing plans. People
with no coverage or different coverage cannot buy an early renewal plan.
· Early renewal options can be offered to members in both the individual and small
group markets.
· Whether or not members are offered early renewal, all consumers can visit
Connect for Health Colorado at www.connectforhealthco.com and shop and
compare plans that fit their health and financial needs.
 
We want people in Colorado to know that the Division of Insurance is a resource.
Anyone with questions about any information provided by an insurance company can
call us. The Division has trained experts ready to answer consumers' health insurance
questions and provide easy-to-understand information. Call 303-894-7490 in the Denver
area, or 1-800-930-3745 outside the metro area."

If you read between the lines, you'll notice that in no way can The Division of Insurance force any company to renew what's already been cancelled.  This is still up to the individual insurance carrier. 

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