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DENVER — The Colorado Division of Insurance announced last week that it will allow insurance carriers to continue through 2015 health insurance plans for individuals and small groups that do not comply with new insurance rules that started in January 2014.
This decision, announced May 2, is based upon President Barack Obama’s announcement in March to allow such plans to continue.
“Allowing insurance companies to continue these plans for another year gives people more options and more time to navigate the transition to the Affordable Care Act,” said Marguerite Salazar, Commissioner of Insurance. “This added time will help them determine the best course of action for themselves and their families.”
Insurance carriers will not be required to continue their non-ACA-compliant plans and will need to make their own business decisions in this regard. When making a coverage decision, the DOI encourages consumers to take the time to consider their health insurance options carefully. Consumers should compare premiums, out of pocket costs, consumer protections, and eligibility for tax credits only available through Connect for Health Colorado.
This decision means that consumers who renewed individual or small group plans in 2013 may be able to renew these plans in 2014 for continuation into 2015, should their insurance company decide to continue plans. Renewals can be completed through Dec. 31, 2014, with an expiration date for plans of no later than Dec. 31, 2015. However, carriers will not be allowed to reinstate plans previously discontinued in 2013, nor does this decision allow for the sale of new plans not compliant with state and federal law.
New legislation is not needed to allow this extension. House Bill 13-1266, concerning the alignment of state health insurance laws with the requirements of the federal “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” became known as the Alignment Bill.
The purpose of the Alignment Bill was to align Colorado’s health insurance laws with the Affordable Care Act and to give the DOI the authority to regulate insurers in alignment with federal requirements and guidance. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued guidance stating that certain plans could be continued that would otherwise be discontinued because they did not meet the requirements of the ACA. In aligning the DOI’s policy with this guidance from CMS, this decision by the DOI provides more time for consumers to transition into the new health care marketplace.
Consumers with questions about insurance can contact the Division of Insurance at 303-894-7490 or 1-800-930-3745 (outside the Denver area). The Division has trained experts ready to answer consumers’ health insurance questions.