Anthem newest insurer to delay cancellations in California

Following in the footsteps of Blue Shield of California, which postponed the planned cancellations of some policies, Anthem Blue Cross has delayed the cancellation of 104,000 individual health plans until February.

The moves by both companies come partly in response to pushback around the country to insurers cancelling plans even though President Barack Obama promised consumers they could keep their health plans if they liked them. The Obama administration is now seeking ways to resolve the insurance cancellations and respond to public backlash.

Anthem had sent cancellation letters to its members with non-grandfathered individual plans, meaning those members could likely obtain better benefits and lower rates from the state's exchange, Covered California, according to California Healthline.

But the temporary reprieve for individual members was granted after Anthem realized it hadn't complied with state law, which requires insurers provide 90 days notice when canceling health plans, reported the Sacramento Bee.

"[Anthem] Blue Cross, to their credit, brought to our attention that due to a computer glitch, 104,000 customers had not been given the 90-day notice they are entitled to," California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said at a news conference announcing the delay, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The insurer still intends to cancel the plans, but now members have two more months to search for alternative coverage. Anthem must mail new notices that include the 90-day provision by Nov. 15.

And Anthem didn't protest delaying the cancellations or sending new notices, Janice Rocco, deputy commissioner at the California Department of Insurance, told California Healthline.

To learn more:
- read the Sacramento Bee article
- see the San Francisco Chronicle article
- check out the California Healthline article

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