President Obama announced last week that those that would have had their health insurance plans canceled in 2014 due to the Affordable Care Act will be able to keep their existing plan through the end of 2014. The change comes primarily due to the fact that President Obama stated on numerous occasions that if Americans were happy with the health plan they already had, they could keep it.
So, it turns out that in Florida you might be able to keep your canceled health plan after all. I use the word might because things aren’t set in stone as of this moment. The President’s announcement is more of a suggestion than a mandate.
The President has charged state insurance commissioners with determining whether such an extension would be allowable. The individual carriers are also able to determine whether or not extending the policies would be administratively possible.
Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation issued a statement on Thursday which said that their office “pledges to work with any company that chooses to continue coverage in accordance with the President’s transitional policy.” Encouraging news for those wishing to keep their canceled health insurance in Florida.
A few carriers have also already announced the fact that they will extend coverage for individuals – Florida Blue being one of them.
Florida Blue Confirms Extension for Individuals
After the announcement by President Obama, Florida Blue said that they will allow individual members to continue their existing health care coverage or explore new plan options under the ACA. Those that have already received a prior letter about their plan being canceled will receive a new letter informing them that they can continue to utilize their existing plan through 2014.
Small Groups Will Have to Wait
Florida Blue has said that they are currently “examining the impact on small group plans” and have yet to offer a timeline for any more details on what this means to small group plans. We’re hearing a similar message from other carriers as well.
What May Seem Like A Small Change … Really Isn’t
While the announcement by President Obama last week may seem like a small change to you and I, the carriers have to essentially re-work their entire plan for the individual and small group market in 2014. We’re advising both our individual and small group clients to remain patient as these changes happen. Obviously we’re right in the thick of January renewals for many small groups and it isn’t ideal to have changes happen this late in the year.
We’ll be working with each of our clients to determine the best course of action after this change. You should work with your agent / broker to do the same.
It’s unbelievable how quickly things have been changing on an almost weekly basis and I can only imagine how people that don’t work in insurance, healthcare or politics may feel trying to follow all of this. Overwhelmed is probably a good word to use … am I right?
Mark Bailey, Jr. is the Senior Marketing Manager of NFP's Atlantic region. Before joining the company, Mark was a production assistant on the tv show Glee and an on-air talent on 95.1 WAPE. He has over 10 years of experience in the insurance and corporate benefits space. Mark is an avid Jacksonville Jaguars fan and loves to spend his free time building custom mechanical keyboards.