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Unpleasant surprise in mail: One million Californians have their health insurance policies canceled

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 13th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

More than one million Californians received a most unwelcome surprise in their mail recently: their health policies have been canceled on account of the Affordable health care Act. These Californians now much swim through insurance exchanges in order to find health insurance that they can afford.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The federal law now requires policies to offer minimum levels of coverage, which has forced many companies to terminate many existing plans.

For at least one company, however, there is a stay of execution. Health insurer Anthem Blue Cross of California has agreed to a two-month extension of about 104,000 individual policies. The company failed to give the required 90-day cancellation notice.

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According to State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, the policies had been set to expire on December 31 but will be extended until February 28 for those who choose to re-enroll. Notices have been sent out to these customers this week.

Jones said the company notified the Department of Insurance that it failed to give enough notice due to a computer glitch and voluntarily offered to extend the policies.

Individual customers who were "inadvertently omitted from the original mailing" have received notices telling them that their policies were being terminated, Anthem spokesman Darrel Ng says. He declined to say how many Anthem customers were being notified their policies were ending.

The situation has angered many, as President Obama repeatedly told Americans that they could keep their health plan if they liked it. Obama apologized last week to those affected consumers and he said his administration is looking into potential fixes for the situation.

Blue Shield of California has declined to specify how many of its individual policies are being terminated in California. More than 400,000 people could be losing coverage through Anthem, according to some industry estimates.

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