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Obama Orders Changes to ACA Implementation

Posted November 15, 2013, 04:16 PM HST
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President Obama has taken steps to try to resolve problems with cancellations of existing health insurance policies. White House photo.

The state’s insurance commissioner is asking Hawaii’s insurance carriers to continue health plans that were scheduled to expire at the end of the year.

The request follows President Obama’s decision to allow states and insurers to choose which plans to continue as the federal Affordable Care Act is implemented.

The plans that were not going to be renewed did not meet all of the 10 essential health benefits mandated by the ACA, also known as Obamacare.

The president’s decision gives the consumer an opportunity to decide whether they want to stay with their existing plan, regardless of the specified essential health benefits, or opt for a new plan, Commissioner Gordon Ito said.

“We believe this will help to alleviate some of the concern and frustration over the non-renewals,” Ito said. “This is an opportunity for consumers to really look at the available plans and choose the best option for themselves. Whether it is their existing plan or a new ACA plan because it has more benefits, and may actually cost less.”

Ito said the insurance carriers now have the choice as to whether they want to apply to the Insurance Division to have the existing plans continue. He said the division will expedite the rate review process to meet the proper deadlines.

Insurance companies must now decide whether they will apply to continue those plans, which would not be available on the Hawaii Health Connector, the state’s website for the ACA, and therefore not eligible for tax credits.

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The president’s decision extends the transition period for the ACA, Ito said.

Obama had come under intense criticism after insurance companies began cancelling policies that would not meet the initial ACA requirements.

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