Legislators Pressuring Insurance Companies to Extend The Policies That Legislators Forced to Be Cancelled

Just to prove that there is no end to the arrogance and moral bankruptcy of politicians:

Federal lawmakers and state officials are stepping up pressure on insurers to allow consumers whose coverage has been canceled in response to the health overhaul to keep their policies beyond the end of the year.

On Tuesday, one of the largest regional health plans in the nation, Blue Shield of California, said it would relax its stance on terminated policies for about 115,000 people after state regulators demanded it do so. Customers now will have until March to decide which plan to choose for 2014, a three-month extension. Because the newer plans generally cost more, the extension could save residents as much as $28.6 million on premiums, said Dave Jones, California's insurance commissioner....

The move by Mr. Jones, an elected Democrat, comes as some other Democrats are seeking ways to allow individual policyholders to keep their current health plans and to defuse the issue of canceled plans, which has become a headache for supporters of the law.

Cancellation letters are expected to be sent to as many as 10 million Americans who buy coverage directly from insurers, rather than through an employer or government program. While these individuals would have to buy new policies, regulators and lawmakers say the extensions would give them more time to shop for an affordable new plan—particularly because continuing problems with insurance exchange websites are preventing many of these consumers from finding new coverage.

This is incredible.  Senator Mary Landrieu, for example, has now introduced a bill that would reverse some of the rules that are forcing insurers to cancel policies, essentially the same bill she voted against 3-1/2 years ago.


  1. mahtso:

    All the legislators who forced the cancellation of those policies were in Congress, not the states. And all of those legislators were Democrats. I forgot, are the Democrats coke or pepsi?

  2. Cath:

    What I wouldn't give to hear some insurance company executive get up in a highly public forum and say "Wait, you want us to reinstate a bunch of *substandard* policies that are so plainly not in the consumers' best interests, so that we can continue deceiving and swindling the good American public? Well, if Congress insists..."

  3. perlhaqr:

    How is "pressure" supposed to work?

    "We really really want you to break this law we passed!" (in the case of "Federal lawmakers") or "We really really want you to break federal law!" (in the case of "state officials".) I mean... how does that even work? Why would any company agree to that? Is CA a "one party" state? (In the sense of recording and wiretap law, not politically.) I mean, fuck. If a legislator came to me and insisted I break the law, I'd make sure I got my saying "FUCK NO" on tape as clearly as possible.

  4. Don:

    “Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.”

    -- Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand

  5. Curious:

    Here comes another mess. Since most, if not all, the states regulate insurance offerings, it is safe assumption that the 2014 policies have been approved by the state. It appears that California, has given a blanket extension of 2013 offerings into 2014. What happens in a state where the law or regulations are such that extending 2013 into 2014 can't happen?

  6. Thruppennybit:

    Thought you might appreciate this...

  7. DirtyJobsGuy:

    I've got a question for anyone who has an answer. We are a small firm in CT (5 insured) and our renewal from the local business organization has our current plan (HMO small deductible) no longer offered but the equivalent plan would cost 64% more. Now here in CT there has always been guaranteed issue and unlimited lifetime coverage, so it can't be these that change the rates. The compression of age classes (3-1 from 5-1 has some impact, but not enough to make the full amount. We've had the 'adult-child' coverage to 26 on the books for a while, so that's not an issue. The only thing I can see from Obamacare is the children's dental coverage. Are there any actuaries or insurance guys out there who can explain this? My best guess is that the estimates of the age distribution are skewing much higher than in the past, despite the Obamacare claims of increasing young guys coverage. In our case this is an employer group plan and since CT is losing jobs and people to more prosperous states the median age is climbing.

  8. Sam L.:

    And are we really surprised? I'm sure Barry is, and will do all in his power to mess up these senators who defy HIM!

  9. perlhaqr:

    Mandated maternity coverage? Substance abuse treatment? I don't know what your current (or, as the case may now be, previous) plan had coverage for.

  10. ColoComment:

    If you're an insurance company, how the hell do you budget for, & operate in, a quicksand environment?

    For ~3 years, the whole industry has been preparing for this O'Care start, dealing daily with new regulatory requirements, and now they're supposed to turn on a dime and go backwards?

    It's insane.

  11. HenryBowman419:

    Sen. Mary Landrieu has simply been pondering her vote taken 3½ years ago, and realizes now that, perhaps, she made a simple mistake. Anyone can make a mistake, after all. Her change of position has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that a good fraction of likely Louisiana voters are now mad as hell and might vote her out of office at the next opportunity. She's just thinking about what's best for the dear citizens of Louisiana, I'm sure.

  12. MingoV:

    Look at differences in mental health coverage, especially yearly maximum payouts and how many days of hospitalization the plan supports.

    A second, but smaller, factor is increased administrative costs. Insurers formerly were regulated by the states. Now they also are regulated by the federal government.

  13. Max:

    It is not surprising and not unique. It is how government runs in democracy whether in the us or in Europe. They make promises than try to live up to them bullying private Enterprises. What really aggravates me is the point that most people seem to forget as long as they don't have to pay. It's just sad and pathetic and probably one of the root causes for bad incentives in politics.
    Also I believe the party loyality or at least partisanship plays a big role here...

  14. mesaeconoguy:

    Obullshitcare has had so many unilateral changes by Obama, it’s just natural that legislators would be able to change it on a whim.

    As I was explaining to a hopelessly dense commenter on another thread, this law has no legal or political legitimacy.

    As soon as someone successfully sues Obama for illegally unilaterally changing enforcement dates (which will happen, and they will win), then it may stand either reinforcement, or it may fall apart completely.

    What a piece of shit legislation, written & "passed" by bigger pieces of shit legislators.

  15. DirtyJobsGuy:

    I've figured it out (CT is a blue state so we had all the major bennies Obama claims are improvements). The problem is the new rating rules. You can't rate men and women differently even though women use more health services. You also cannot have a more than 3-1 range in young to old range of premiums opposed to the current, actuarially accurate 5-1. The mix in poorly performing CT is heavily weighted to women and older workers (fewer new hires) so compared to 2013 it zooms. By comparison of our 5 employees two are in their 50's with families, one is on medicare and two are single young guys. The new rules cause this to blow up. This is a much more serious flaw than any others as it is a political core of the exchanges and thus cannot be changed easily to more to more accurate underwriting. Many more small groups will see the same impact even in Blue states.

  16. Voolfie:

    People laughed and rolled their eyes when I announced, two years ago, that the sole purpose of Obamacare was to destroy the healthcare system in this country. I don't take any pleasure in being right.