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Insurance division issues guidance on policies

Posted: November 24, 2013 - 1:08am

JUNEAU — Insurance companies that sent cancellation notices for policies that won’t meet requirements of the federal health care law have until Dec. 31 to file and extend those policies in Alaska.

State insurance director Bret Kolb said Friday that if carriers opt to do this, coverage would be extended one year under the existing policies.

He said by email that the division is working with companies operating in Alaska but did not say if any indicated that they wanted to extend existing plans, recommending instead reaching out to the individual companies.

A spokeswoman for Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield said that company is working through the issue with the division. Moda Health, meanwhile, announced Friday that it would extend existing individual and small group policies in Alaska through 2014.

Premera and Moda also are the companies offering plans for Alaska that are compliant with the new law on the federally facilitated online insurance marketplace.

Last week, President Barack Obama said insurers could continue offering into 2014 plans that would otherwise be canceled, though state insurance commissioners would get to decide what plans could be sold in their states. Companies would have to inform those who want to keep their plans about protections not included in those plans, and companies would not be allowed to sell to new customers policies that don’t meet requirements under the law.

Gov. Sean Parnell, who has been a vocal critic of the law, said last week that he wanted to see that Kolb — in weighing how to move forward — would work to make sure Alaskans had a greater choice in plans and more affordable options. Parnell said what’s at play with the law is “government dictating to Americans what health care plans they have to have. I want Alaskans to make that determination for themselves,” he said.

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