States vary on reinstating canceled plans

States have mixed reactions to President Obama's proposal to reinstate canceled insurance products that fail to meet Affordable Care Act requirements. Six states will act on the offer, four rejected it and at least another 16 are trying to figure out what to do next, according to reports by Reuters and The Providence Journal.

States saying yes to the one-year canceled plan extension include California, Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Oregon and South Carolina. States saying no include New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. But officials from Alabama, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia told Reuters they don't have enough information yet to decide. 

"I have serious concerns about how President Obama's proposal would be implemented and more significantly, its potential impact on the overall stability of our health insurance market," said Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler in a statement, The Seattle Times reported.

Health insurance representatives voiced similar misgivings in interviews with FierceHealthPayer last week.

And in Rhode Island, regulators opted out since all plans available next year meet ACA standards, the ProJo noted.

These responses show the complexity of reforming health insurance at the state level. "There are so many moving parts to this process," National Association of Insurance Commissioners CEO Ben Nelson told Reuters. "When you tamper with one, no matter how good your intention is, you have intended consequences and unintended consequences."

Reintroducing canceled plans is neither easy nor fast. "The genie is already out of the bottle," reported ABC News. By January, payers may need to roll back prior efforts to tweak products, calculate premiums, change websites, reprogram systems and educate customers about healthcare reform's latest twists, the article noted. 

White House spokesman Jay Carney addressed complaints by suggesting the government would boost payments to insurers if resurrecting canceled plans raises costs, according to The Hill's Healthwatch.

For more:
- read the Reuters article
- here's the ABC News report
- check out the Providence Journal article
- read the Seattle Times article
- see the Hill's Healthwatch blog post