Insurers may have to offer free coverage to remedy exchange problems

Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in New York has offered to provide three weeks of free coverage for certain consumers after it failed to properly process health insurance exchange applications, and other state regulators are considering similar moves, the Wall Street Journal reported. The free coverage followed a state investigation into consumer complaints about how Empire handled exchange-related service issues. Consumers said Empire didn't send premium bills fast enough or respond to their phone calls. Because those and similar problems have arisen across the country, it's likely that other state regulators will follow New York's lead to rectify consumer complaints. Some will "follow the lead and probably try to implement a similar deal in their states for their consumers," Sally McCarty, senior research fellow at the Georgetown Heath Policy Institute, told the WSJ. For example, a spokeswoman for California's exchange, Covered California, said it was "open to considering any options that could benefit enrollees." Article