Missouri will allow health insurance companies to continue offering policies that otherwise would have been canceled under the terms of the new federal health care law.
Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday that the state will let insurers sell individual and small-group policies in 2014 that were to be canceled because they didn't meet federal coverage requirements taking effect next year.
He also tweeted the following, echoing a message he included in his announcement:
MO to allow continuation of cancelled plans. Another example of how states are better-positioned to provide effective insurance oversight
— Governor Jay Nixon (@GovJayNixon) November 21, 2013
Nationwide, more than 4 million people who buy their own insurance have received notices because their plans didn't meet the requirements of the federal law.
Is Missouri's decision legal? John Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions, and Professional Registration (DIFP) addressed that topic in Nixon's statement:
“The department has not identified any Missouri law prohibiting this coverage to continue, so we will continue to communicate with affected Missouri insurance companies to ensure that the best interests and needs of the consumers are met.”
In a phone interview late Thursday afternoon, Huff added that DIFP has "built a process to expedite insurance companies to get (canceled) products reapproved for sale in 2014." He said that anyone whose policy was canceled should contact their insurance company to see if it's still available.
"If the insurance company has already discontinued that product or withdrawn it from the market, then we've built a process to help the insurance company move very quickly to get that plan approved with the regulator and then make it available to consumers," Huff said. "So the first stop is the insurance company."
Missouri's decision comes after President Barack Obama recently proposed to allow those customers to keep their existing insurance policies for another year.
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