Apparently some of the media reported that Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey had decided not to renew their Basic and Essential plans. As Horizon’s original statement on this made clear, this was not Horizon’s decision but was made for it by the recently promulgated Federal regulations.
Horizon has released another statement (missing link added) entitled, “Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey Statement Correcting Media Accounts About the Renewal of Canceled Health Plans,” to make this not just clear but extra super-duper crystalline (emphasis mine):
In response to media stories that incorrectly state that Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey decided not to renew individual health plans that the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance said could be renewed, the company's Director of Public Affairs, Thomas Rubino, issued the following statement:
"Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey would like to be able to renew its Basic and Essential and Basic and Essential Plus plans (B & E plans) currently held by more than 90,000 members. Horizon BCBSNJ had every intention to renew the plans, based upon President Obama's declaration that health insurers would be able to renew recently cancelled plans.
The federal government, however, has decided not to allow New Jersey’s B & E plans to be renewed in their current form. The B & E plans would have to be drastically altered, which would significantly increase premiums.
In order for Horizon BCBSNJ to renew the current B & E plans, the federal government needed to extend its waiver to the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance to allow the current B & E plans to be renewed for another year because these plans do not conform to Affordable Care Act mandates. The federal government has refused to extend this waiver, which expires on December 31, 2013. Without the waiver, the current B & E plans no longer exist and cannot be renewed. This was not Horizon BCBSNJ’s decision.
The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance made this clear in its statement Wednesday, when it said: "Further guidance provided as recently as this week by the federal government makes clear that even if an individual wants to keep their existing coverage in New Jersey, certain provisions will still be altered in order to make each plan consistent with federal mandates."
Horizon BCBSNJ understands our members’ frustration that they will not be able to keep their current B & E plans. If given the option to do so, Horizon BCBSNJ would renew the current B & E plans for our members.
Members who currently have Horizon BCBSNJ B & E plans will be able to keep their current plans until the renewal date of their policy in 2014. At that time, they will have to choose a new ACA compliant health plan.
You know things are getting interesting when your insurance company is trying to defend you from your government. I figured the least I could do was return the favor.