N.J. to allow insurers to decide fate of canceled policies

TRENTON – New Jersey said today it would let insurers decide whether to go along with the president’s option of letting people keep the health plans that have been canceled because they would not meet Affordable Care Act requirements.

President Obama had said this month that people should have the option of retaining their plan even if it did not comply with the ACA, and that opened the door for states to decide the next step.

The Department of Banking and Insurance had to decide whether approximately 800,000 residents could keep their policies, which had been canceled by insurers.

“Today Commissioner Ken Kobylowski of Banking and Insurance did what President Obama should have done from the beginning: allow the free market – not the government – to decide the fate of health insurance plans impacted by new Obamacare regulations,” Gov. Chris Christie’s office said in a release.

“Due to poor planning and failed execution by the Obama Administration, New Jersey is left to deal with a mess that we voiced concerns about from the very beginning. As a result of the requirements under the new health care law, premiums will skyrocket for New Jerseyans in the individual market.”

Sen. Nia Gill on Monday said she would convene a hearing Dec. 5 of the Commerce Committee she chairs to address the issue of policies that don’t meet the ACA standards for minimal coverage, and Kobylowski has been invited to attend.

“This is an important decision that could affect 800,000 New Jerseyans whose health insurance plans are set to end on Jan, 1, as well as impact the overall insurance market in our state,” said Gill.

The Christie administration – which opted previously not to have a state-run health care exchange but to let the federal government run it – said that Obama’s fix on canceled policies only will lead to changes and higher costs even if people want to keep their plans.

“Despite President Obama’s late-to-the-game fix to try and convince people they can keep their plan no matter what, the reality is that if an individual in New Jersey decides to continue with their existing health insurance plan, they will still likely face federally mandated increases in benefits and corresponding premium hikes,” the administration said.

For example, the administration said, annual limits on individual plans will be eliminated, and continuing plans will be subject to federal fees and taxes next year.

N.J. to allow insurers to decide fate of canceled policies