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News: 2013 Press Release

For Release: December 20, 2013
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Jones responds to President's announcement regarding canceled policyholders exemption from individual mandate

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones issued the following statement in response to President Obama's decision to allow consumers with canceled policies the option to purchase catastrophic plans:

"The 1.1 million Californians with individual market health insurance policies should have been allowed to renew their existing health insurance, as promised. Instead, health insurers and Covered California decided to require the cancelation of all existing non-grandfathered health insurance policies, contrary to my and the President's request that they allow individuals and families to renew. The cancelations required by Covered California were not necessary for the viability of Covered California or the individual market.

"Yesterday, in the face of decisions like Covered California's to require cancelations, the Obama Administration announced that Californians whose health insurance was canceled are now eligible to purchase a 'catastrophic plan.' Most people who are shopping for health insurance coverage are going to want to choose a higher level of coverage than offered by the catastrophic plans, but the Administration's announcement does make the catastrophic plans a choice for more families. I encourage the uninsured and those facing December 31 cancelations to sign up for new coverage by December 23, in order to have health insurance in effect on January 1.

"I am formally asking all health insurers and HMO's as well as Covered California to comply with the Obama Administration's new rules allowing those whose policies were canceled to sign up for catastrophic plans, if that is the choice of those individuals and families."

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The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2013 the California Department of Insurance received more than 170,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $63 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 or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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