November 14, 2013, 03:17 pm
Regulators 'unclear' on O-Care fix plan
By Elise Viebeck
President Obama's proposed fix for ObamaCare may not work in practice, according to state insurance regulators who would help implement the policy.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) suggested Thursday that the plan to allow insurance companies to offer non-compliant health plans into 2014 is not logistically feasible.
"It is unclear how, as a practical matter, the changes proposed today by the president can be put into effect," said NAIC President Jim Donelon in a statement, noting that premium prices could also rise as a result.
"[We have] been clear from the beginning that allowing insurers to have different rules for different policies would be detrimental to the overall market."
Insurance commissioners are not the only skeptics of Obama's plan. The health insurance industry immediately blasted the move as a threat to market stability and premium prices.
Both parties would effectively carry out the White House plan, suggesting a tough climb for the administration as it seeks buy-in from stakeholders.
The plan allows health insurers to continue offering canceled health policies for one year to people who formerly held them.
ObamaCare requires all health plans to offer a certain level of coverage, which was forcing sub-standard policies out of the market until the administration announced its fix.
The White House move is intended to tamp down consumer criticism and political backlash over the canceled plans.
But insurers and insurance commissioners will ultimately decide which policies continue, meaning that no one is guaranteed access to an old policy that's been stopped.
The role of the commissioner is crucial in states whose laws mimic or reinforce ObamaCare's new coverage requirements.
In those cases, state regulators will decide whether insurance companies can continue offering plans that lack full ObamaCare benefits or not.