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PA Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine Statement on Non-Compliant Policy Extension Announcement

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine provided the following statement regarding the recent federal announcement on health policy extensions.

"The recent federal announcement concerning a multi-year extension of policies that do not comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is another example of how the Obama Administration has changed the rules for implementing the law that it sought to have enacted. 

"We have concerns about policy cancellations and the anxiety of Pennsylvanians when they receive cancellation notices.  However, this announcement, like the announcement last fall regarding a one-year extension, has created even more confusion in the marketplace for both consumers (individuals and small groups) and insurance companies. 

"The Insurance Department's goal is to assure that Pennsylvania consumers have access to coverage and health care, including access to a stable, competitive health insurance market.  We take very seriously our responsibility to provide the best guidance possible regarding insurance issues – as our consumer service efforts will attest.

"In this instance, it is the federal government which is responsible for the enforcement of the ACA. It is difficult to understand how HHS can decline to enforce provisions in the law. While we remain extremely troubled by the constitutional ramifications of the announced approach, and concerned about the unsettling impact of a two-track marketplace, the Insurance Department will not stand in the way of any insurance company that chooses to extend non-compliant policies in accord with the most recent federal announcement.

"To clarify a potential point of confusion, it is our understanding that HHS does not intend to permit an insurance company to offer non-ACA compliant policies to consumers who may have already enrolled in ACA compliant policies.  Therefore we do not believe that an insurance company may make such offers. 

"There may be health insurance carriers in our marketplace that will decide not to extend their policies due to various operational challenges, including the potential for significant expense, additional costs and the risk of further confusing consumers.  Nevertheless, we will work with insurance carriers who elect to extend policies to be sure consumers have clear and understandable options, and that the health insurance marketplace in Pennsylvania remains strong."

Pennsylvania consumers looking for specific information on their insurance policy should call their insurance agent or company directly. Consumers looking for general information or guidance can visit PAHealthOptions.com for updates and information, or call our toll-free hotline at 877-881-6388.  

Media contacts:   
Rosanne Placey or Melissa Fox, 717-787-3289

SOURCE Pennsylvania Insurance Department

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