HealthHealth Policy / November 21, 2013

Indiana Eschews Obama's Insurance Request

Lesley Weidenbener - The StatehouseFile.com
Indiana Eschews Obama's Insurance Request

State officials won’t order insurance companies in Indiana to reinstate insurance policies they canceled in accordance with the federal Affordable Care Act, despite requests from President Barack Obama.

Indiana Department of Insurance Commissioner Stephen Robertson said insurance companies have been working with the state for months to set the proper rates and contract terms to comply with the federal law.

And he said the department does not have “authority under Indiana law to fulfill the president’s untimely request.”

“President Obama has asked that Indiana compel insurance companies who choose to do business in our state to reinstate carefully phased-out policies at a moment’s notice,” Robertson said in a statement. “Such action would seriously destabilize Indiana’s insurance market and create logistical chaos, fueling even more uncertainty for Hoosiers.”

The president is facing public scrutiny over the rollout of what’s become known as Obamacare. The website through which Americans are supposed to sign up for coverage has been beset with technology problems. Meanwhile, insurance companies have been canceling millions of policies that don’t comply with Obamacare requirements that were to take effect on Jan. 1.

Obama announced a plan last week to allow a one-year extension of those canceled policies and asked state regulators to work with insurance companies on the request.

About half the state have said yes, according to the Wall Street Journal. But Indiana is among a number of states that are resisting.

Robertson said the Affordable Care Act provided an “early renewal option” that enabled existing plans to delay new federal mandates for about another year so that individuals who are currently enrolled in those plans could transition more smoothly and budget accordingly for extra expenses.

Insurers that chose to offer an early renewal option to their existing customers worked with the state earlier this year “in a timely and responsible manner to price their insurance products appropriately to comply with Indiana’s financial regulatory standards and general market stabilization functions,” state officials said Wednesday.

Not every insurance carrier offered early renewal as an option to their existing customers, and some insurance carriers that sold existing products will no longer sell in Indiana’s insurance market in 2014, state officials said.