State investigates reversal of canceled healthcare plans

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The Indiana Department of Insurance is trying to determine if the state has the legal authority to approve reversals of health care policy cancellations.

President Barack Obama says Americans can renew plans now set for cancellation, but that is not as easy as it sounds.

About 178,000 Hoosiers buy their health insurance on the individual market, but because of the Affordable Care Act, over half of those people will soon have those policies canceled.

"I did receive a cancellation notice from Blue Cross Blue Shield," Dave Moffatt said, sitting in his home in Fishers.

He knows all about that. His policy was one of the estimated 108,000 that have been or will be eliminated, so he started comparative shopping. He went from $478.79 a month to $1,010.32 for an out-of-market family policy. He opted to switch over to his wife's group insurance plan.

Moffatt is more than just a canceled client. He has worked as an independent contractor in the health insurance field for 20 years. He says his clients are concerned.

"Folks are just scared. Especially my clients who are on Medicare," he observed.

The President tried to console consumers when he said Americans should be able to renew health coverage plans now set for cancellation, but it had a very different effect here in Indiana.

"Doing something like this 45-46 days after it's been implemented is really absurd to create that perception," said Logan Harrison, the chief deputy insurance commissioner for the Indiana Department of Insurance.

The state is still trying to determine if approving reversals of policy cancellations is legal, much less practical, since it could take months for a one-year extension to meet regulations.

"You can't reorder something that doesn't exist anymore. Even if you had the legal authority to order it anyway," Harrison added.

Indiana did offer a one-year early renewal and now companies like Anthem are extending the signup deadline to November 30, but Moffatt says he fears by the end of the year the Affordable Health Care Act will lead to more Hoosiers without insurance instead of less.

"It's a train wreck and you cannot unring the bell," Moffatt stated.

Harrison says the Indiana Department of Insurance legal team is currently reviewing the president's proposal.