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News: 2013 Press Release
For Release: November 12, 2013
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Commissioner Jones announces Anthem will delay policy cancellations for some individual market policyholders
104,000 consumers may keep policies at existing price through February 2014
SACRAMENTO, Calif - Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced today that Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company will delay the December 31 policy cancellations for 104,000 California consumers covered by individual and family (non-grandfathered) policies giving them more time to look for coverage that meets their needs.
After being informed by Anthem that due to a computer glitch 104,000 policyholders had not received 90 days' notice of cancellation as required by law, the commissioner asked Anthem Blue Cross to send out new notices to those policyholders and give them the option to extend their current policies, with their current doctors and hospitals at their current rates until February 28. Anthem will mail out new notices by November 15. If all 104,000 of these policyholders elected to keep their existing coverage through February 28th, they would save an estimated $23 million from Anthem's 2014 rates.
"Neither state nor federal law allows me to stop the 1 million cancellation notices sent to Californians, despite my opposition to these cancellations," said Commissioner Jones. "We will, however, do everything within our power to extend existing policies where health insurers are not in full compliance with notice requirements. Because Anthem did not give 90 days' notice to 104,000 policyholders as required by law, Anthem agreed to provide 104,000 policyholders with the option to extend their current policies until February 28th, giving them the opportunity to keep their doctors and hospitals and keep their current rates, saving $23 million."
Policyholders must notify Anthem Blue Cross by December 15 if they wish to keep their existing policies through February. Anthem policyholders should evaluate carefully whether keeping their existing policy into 2014 is beneficial. They should shop and compare all health insurance available to them. Policyholders should contact Covered California at www.coveredca.com to see if they are eligible for a premium subsidy. If they are eligible for a subsidy, it will probably be better for them to sign up for new coverage through Covered California by December 15 in order to start receiving the premium subsidy in January. This is the second extension of policies required by Commissioner Jones. Last week Blue Shield was required to extend policies for 115,000 policyholders after failing to comply with notice requirements.
- The law requires health insurers to give consumers 90 days' notice when the insurer is cancelling the policy and offering new coverage options.
- Event photos available.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2012 the California Department of Insurance received more than 160,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $64 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Out-of-state callers, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.
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