Nevadans not allowed to carry forward non-compliant health insurance

CARSON CITY - Nevada’s Insurance Division decided Wednesday that people whose health care insurance policies did not meet the standards of the federal Affordable Care Act cannot carry forward those policies for another year, as President Barack Obama had wanted.

Obama sought to use his “enforcement discretion” to allow people to renew policies that lack somebenefits mandated by the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. But after consulting with Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, the state Insurance Division decided that renewing these polices “would conflict with Nevada law and the Affordable Care Act.”

Nearly 25,000 Nevadans have received cancellation or non-renewal notices because their policies fall short of ACA standards.

The issue has become highly political as Republicans have accused the president of lying when he said that under Obamacare people would be able to keep their current policies if they liked them. Because of the issue, Obama’s popularity ratings have plunged to record lows.

A poll released Nov. 13 by the Quinnipac University Polling Institute found 54 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s performance in office, while only 39 percent approve of the job he is doing.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, who opposed Obama’s move to allow people to renew non-compliant insurance policies, said Wednesday that “The only way to fix the problems resulting form Obamacare is for Congress to change the law itself.”
Sandoval last week said Obamacare should be repealed or drastically modified.

“The fact is, the president misled the American people when he promised they could keep their insurance if they liked it,” the governor said. “Furthermore, those in Congress who supported this law should have known that implementing these mandates would result in canceled policies. The very real and harmful consequences of this ill-conceived law are now being experienced by not just Nevadans, but people throughout the country.”

Obama gave states the option to allow policies to continue for another year. Massachusetts, Washington and several other states have decided not to allow insurance companies to offer the plans. Hawaii, Florida, Texas and some others have opted to allow the plans.

Despite Nevada’s decision, Jake Sunderland, a spokesman for the state Insurance Division, noted his agency has allowed insurance companies to offer customers early renewals of non-ACA compliant health insurance plans until Dec. 31.
This could have the effect of providing people insurance foras long as one more year. The Affordable Care Act requires non-ACA compliant policies to be phased out in 2014. If customers do not act on this early renewal option their coverage will end on the day their policies expire in 2014.
People who face loss of their policies may contact the Insurance Division for guidance at 486-4009 in Las Vegas or contact a licensed insurance broker. They also may visit http://doi.nv.gov/ to view rates and plan documents for all health insurance plans available on the individual market.
Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com, or at 775-687-3901 or on Twitter at @edison vogel
Review-Journal reporter Sean Whaley contributed to this story.