Humana allows policyholders to keep old plans without paying more; Anthem is still deciding

Humana, one of the three insurance companies offering individual health policies on the state’s insurance exchange, will allow Kentuckians to keep their insurance coverage for another year without charging them more for it.

The other two companies on the individual market are Anthem and the Kentucky Health Cooperative. Anthem hasn’t responded to recent inquiries about the old policies; it said last week that it was still deciding whether or not it would extend policies that don’t comply with federal health reform. Since the non-profit cooperative is a new insurance organization, it is only offering policies that comply with the law.

A Humana spokeswoman told Kentucky Health News Monday that the company communicated premium amounts to individual policyholders in October when presenting policy owners with coverage options for 2014, including the option to continue their current plan. Those premium amounts for individual policies have not changed since the most recent changes to the Affordable Care Act, she said.

Some insurance experts have warned that consumers renewing noncompliant plans will be predominantly younger and healthier, while older and sicker people will migrate to the subsidized marketplaces, which could drive up costs for plans. Some states aren’t allowing insurers to renew policies. For example, Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said he would not allow insurers to extend the policies “in the interest of keeping the consumer protections we have enacted,” reports Kaiser Health News.

In Kentucky, at least for Humana policyholders, this is not the case. President Obama said people whose policies were being canceled because they didn’t comply with the law could renew them for another year if state regulators allow it. Gov. Steve Beshear gave insurers the green light to decide whether or not to renew these policies. Humana has decided to do so without charging additional premiums short-term.

Meanwhile, Anthem is deciding what to do and some existing policy owners in other states face as much as a 24 percent increase in their premiums. Obama’s extension allows non-compliant policies to stay in place only for a year. This time next year, the transition must be made to plans that are qualified under the law.

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