Photo: Courtney (flickr)
A top Indiana insurance official says it was “unfair and wrong” of President Obama to suggest people could reorder health insurance after their coverage had been canceled as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
Indiana Department of Insurance Deputy Commissioner Logan Harrison says a legal team is currently reviewing the president’s proposal that people should be able to renew their canceled healthcare plans for another year.
Individual states regulate insurance, not the federal government, and Harrison says Indiana is evaluating whether it has the legal authority to approve reversing coverage cancellations.
“We have some legal things to look at,” he says. “We have some practical things to look at, as far as from a policy standpoint, of whether or not this would substantially disrupt the market, which we think it would. Whether or not it would cause some regulatory concerns.”
But Harrison says even if it’s legal, reversing cancellations could be impractical because it could take months to approve such a process. He says the president’s announcement was a political stunt, creating the perception that renewing cancelled policies is possible when it might not be.
“That was very unfair and wrong to do and deceptive,” he says. “He was punting the blame back to the states to deal with.”
Harrison says he doesn’t have a timetable for when the state will determine whether reversing cancellations is legally viable.
But Chris Schrader, the president of the Bloomington-based human resources firm Schrader and Associates, says logistically, states and insurance companies likely won’t be able to reinstate policies for several months.
“Even if everybody moved at flank speed, the insurance commissioners got behind it, the insurance companies rolled out their products very rapidly, people bought them, you’re still really realistically talking three to four months before everything could be lined up to go into effect,” he says. “So there would be a pretty significant gap still to be managed.”