Insurance regulators in New Jersey announced Nov. 26 that companies will have the power to decide the fate of thousands of customer health care policies. Many policyholders canceled under the assumption their plans failed to meet federal guidelines, according to Asbury Park Press.
Ken Kobylowski, the state’s banking and insurance commissioner, said the decision sounds more daunting on paper than in its application. Kobylowski said little is expected to change for those who acquired plans from the private market, as opposed to those who require policies through the Healthcare.gov site.
However, the decision will affect more than 800,000 state residents who have coverage through policies, whether obtained on the individual- or employer-based market.
The ruling was handed down nearly two weeks after President Obama attempted to console frustrated insurance customers who reported significant technical difficulties purchasing policies through the federal website. Obama announced then that customers who liked their existing plans could hold out on buying into Obamacare until states’ policies met federal guidelines.
“The administrative challenges associated with implementing the federal government announcement and (Nov. 26’s) state announcement are significant,” said Wardell Sanders, president of the New Jersey Association of Health Plans, a nonprofit organization that represents health insurers.
Gov. Chris Christie said in 2012 New Jersey would not use a state-run insurance exchange and would direct its residents to the federal website.