On March 5, 2014, the White House announced a two-year extension to the previously announced one-year transition relief allowing individual and small group insured members to “keep the plans they liked”. In other words, delay the implementation of several Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions for another two years. This extension is subject to the same stipulation affecting the initial one year delay announced on 11/14/13, which is that both insurers and States must allow and approve of the relief/delay. A previous blog post addressed the initial delay (Click – http://sstevenshealthcare.blogspot.com/2013/11/special-edition-individual-plans-may.html)
IMPORTANT (for Nebraskans): On March 24, 2014, Bruce R. Jamge, CPCU, CIE, Nebraska’s Director of Insurance, issued a notice which indicated, in part – “…it was the Department’s opinion that individual and small group health policies issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2014 must comply with the provisions outlined in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and, as such, that Presidential announcement had no legal effect for the purposes of insurance regulation in Nebraska. (emphasis added) Click here to access a copy of this Notice – http://www.doi.nebraska.gov/notices/notc2014/notice02.pdf
This notice, in effect, says the state of Nebraska will not be allowing any health insurer to implement the two-year delay. I encourage readers in other states to find out what their respective Insurance Director/Commissioner’s offices have determined relative to this matter.
So if an insurer and the State in which the policy was sold both agree to allow the relief, affected insureds can keep their “pre-ACA” policy until 10/1/16. Specifically, transitional relief allowing the two-year delay applies for policy years beginning on, after, or before 10/1/16, with the possibility a adding a one year extension then, if appropriate. Such relief would spare plans from having to incorporate many ACA provisions affecting premium rates (e.g., community rating, 10 essential health benefits, removal of pre-existing condition limits, guaranteed availability, etc.). The Society of Actuaries has predicted an average 31.5% increase in individual health insurance premiums resulting from many of these provisions. Click here for a state by state breakdown of predicted cost increases – http://www.ahipcoverage.com/2013/07/17/society-of-actuaries-aca-impact-will-vary-substantially-across-state-lines/
Stay tuned folks…change is definitely coming…fast and furious!