Obamacare Reversal Lets Blue Cross Decide Whether 66K Policies Continue

President Obama announced Thursday that people with individual policies facing cancellation would be able to keep their plan for a year. Credit: Whitehouse.gov

President Obama announced Thursday that people with individual policies facing cancellation would be able to keep their plan for a year. Credit: Whitehouse.gov

It will be left to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee to decide on extending 66,000 policies that were set to expire.

President Obama’s one-year grace period for plans that didn’t meet new minimum standards affects an estimated 70,000 Tennesseans, according to the Department of Commerce and Insurance. Most have individual plans with Blue Cross.

It’s unclear whether state regulators can require Blue Cross to renew policies that didn’t meet minimum standards under Obamacare. But Commissioner Julie McPeak thinks the company should help its customers out.

“To have another option, even if it’s only for a one year transition, I think is a positive move,” she told reporters.

McPeak says she does have some concerns, though. The delay will further limit the number that may sign up for the federal health exchange in Tennessee. Fewer than a thousand enrolled during the first month. And McPeak has already voiced concerns about a possible “death spiral” for those policies if only sick people sign up and companies are forced to raise their rates.

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