Insurance companies will be allowed to add one more year to policies that don’t comply with reforms; decisions due May 5

Kentucky’s health insurance companies may extend through Oct. 1, 2016, individual and small-group policies that don’t comply with federal health reform, the state Department of Insurance announced Friday. This means some consumers can continue these policies until Oct. 1, 2017.

Insurance companies are supposed to notify the Insurance Department of their decisions by May 5.

This is the second “transitional relief” option offered to states by the federal government. The earlier one came in November 2013 and offered a one-year extension of existing policies; the most recent adds two more years. The latest relief does not affect “grandfathered” plans (those in existence prior to March 23, 2010, the date the law took effect) or newly issued policies.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires 10 essential health benefits and includes other provisions that were not part of many old policies.

“We know that health insurance needs are personal,” Insurance Commissioner Sharon P. Clark said in a press release. “This choice would give individuals and small employers the flexibility to make the decision that best fits their needs at this time while planning for full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”

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