2013-11-21 / Local & State

Pa. Not Saying If Insurers Can Undo Cancellations

By Marc Levy


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration could not say whether it would heed President Barack Obama’s call Thursday for states to allow insurers to reverse policy cancellations stemming from the federal health care law, and it remained unclear whether insurers would even try to reverse their decisions.

A spokeswoman for Corbett’s Department of Insurance said agency officials were still reading a notice from the federal government. Separately, Corbett wrote Thursday to Obama to ask him to effectively pursue a similar goal.

In the letter he released publicly, Corbett urged Obama to support legislation to let Pennsylvanians keep their current insurance policies. He also asked Obama to allow federal subsidies for insurance policies that meet the law’s standards and are sold outside of the marketplaces created by the law.

Insurers did not immediately say whether they would look to reverse policy cancellations.

“It is too early after the president’s announcement for us to provide specifics on our next steps,’’ said Capital Blue Cross spokesman Joseph Butera.

The Insurance Department has already contacted Capital Blue Cross and other insurers to find the best way to ensure that people have adequate and affordable coverage, Butera said.

Also Thursday, the department raised its estimate of the number of people seeing their insurance discontinued in connection with the federal health care law.

The department initially estimated last month that 215,000 to 250,000 Pennsylvanians, including people in individual, small-group and large-group policies, were seeing their coverage discontinued. Now it says that figure is 250,000 and expected to grow by tens of thousands.

In some cases, the insurance plans that are being discontinued do not include the benefits that are required by the law beginning Jan. 1. In other cases, the law’s ban on insurers discriminating against people who have a health condition could mean that many people have access to lowercost policies with additional benefits.

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