Priority Health reacts to Obamacare changes

9:16 AM, Nov 15, 2013   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- As many as 4.2 million Americans who buy their own health insurance have received cancellation notices in the mail. The policies do not meet the guidelines and rules laid out in The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Thursday, following an outcry from the public and republicans, President Obama announced his administration will no longer require insurance companies to scrap those plans. He says people and companies will be given at least a one year extension.

Shortly after the President spoke, however, the major industry trade group warned that prices might rise as a result of the new policy. America's Health Insurance Plans says changing the rules now "could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers."

Insurance companies say they've been working on the change over for two years and to make a change 6 weeks before the deadline is not realistic.

WZZM 13 spoke with Joan Budden, the chief marketing officer at Priority Health in Grand Rapids. Priority Health says its customers are not receiving those cancellation notices. Budden says, "we went to the department of insurance and said we want to offer our policies as long as they are sold in 2013 all the way through 2014."

Priority Health says it didn't want to cancel a customer who had signed up for six months ago. The department of insurance gave Priority Health permission to do so.

But Budden says what the President announced Thursday introduced more than just extending these policies into next year, "If you read the details it also says you can also buy these policies in 2014. That's something we hadn't planned on so we will have to go back and evaluate."

Budden says many health insurance companies are left hanging because they already discontinued the policies that did not fit into Obamacare. "How do you bring all this together in such a short period of time," she wonders.

On the bright side, Budden says, "The fundamental goal of providing coverage to the under insured was accomplished. That is the best part of the changes and really good important policy changes for the country."

In Michigan we have 1.2 million people uninsured.

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