States split on Obamacare extension


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Add Connecticut to the growing list of states that will forgo President Barack Obama’s recent proposal to allow health insurers to extend or renew canceled health insurance policies through 2014 after the public had initial problems signing up through

While a number of states have decided to accept the president’s offer, some, including California, New York, Indiana, West Virginia, Washington and Utah, have decided against it for a variety of reasons.

For Connecticut, which announced its intention last week with statements from Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, the reasons were many as to why the state declined the offer:

  • Connecticut’s insurers made it clear they would not renew any policy, which hasn’t already been offered for renewal.
  • Connecticut’s residents have the ability to access new health plans through a system that currently has a 96 percent customer satisfaction rating. And for many people, the plans purchased through the exchange are subsidized, Malloy said.
  • They also argued changing the plans now would through the market into uncertainty, destabilizing the pricing in the health care exchange and possibly leading to higher prices for state residents down the road.

“We’re going to work with people, walk them through their options and get them covered either on the exchange or with a private plan that makes sense for their needs,” Malloy said. “The simple truth is that Connecticut didn’t create this particular problem, but we aren’t going to pass the buck either. We’re going to step up and do everything we can to get people covered, and continue working towards our goal of good, affordable health insurance for every Connecticut resident.”

The majority of states, though, seem to be following through with Obama’s request, although not all states have announced their intentions yet. Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas have all announced they will grant the extensions as requested by the White House.

“Some of these are red states, some of these are blue states, but they’re all states that have chosen to take the president up on his offer to try to address this problem that’s plaguing people who received cancellation letters,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said this week.

Mississippi, Oklahoma and Arkansas also have allowed early plan renewals.

“Thankfully, we worked with the insurance industry and stayed ahead of the curve on this latest Obamacare fiasco,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak. “By allowing early renewals, consumers were given the option of keeping their plan for a while longer or shopping for a new one. That decision benefited Oklahoma consumers and avoided the massive cancellations happening in other states.”

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