- 2 Minnesota health insurers drop out of individual market. New law disallows caps on total lifetime benefits as was customary, among other changes.
- 9/24, "Two Minnesota health insurers suspend single policy sales," Pioneer Press, by C. Snowbeck
"Bloomington-based HealthPartners said it was temporarily suspending sales of individual health insurance policies because of uncertainty created by the new federal law.
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota said it was taking similar steps.
But officials with the Medica and PreferredOne health plans said they still were selling policies in the individual market, where about 1 in 20 Minnesotans obtain health insurance coverage.
Congress passed health reform six months ago; as of Thursday, new health insurance policies had to comply with key provisions of the legislation.
- In Minnesota, that's meant changes to health plan policies that regulators at the Minnesota Department of Commerce must approve before companies can sell them to new customers.
The state hasn't signed off on some changes sought by HealthPartners, said Amy Von Walter, a company spokeswoman. "Due to continuing changes caused by health care reform, we temporarily have no long-term individual medical plans for sale," the insurance company says in a notice on its website. "We are currently working with regulators to get affordable products approved to sell as quickly as possible."
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota also awaits final approval before resuming sales of its health plans for individuals, said Pam Lux, a spokeswoman for the Eagan-based insurer....
Current customers at both plans are not affected by the disruption. It also does not affect people covered through group health insurance plans -- the majority of Minnesotans.
Beginning Thursday, newly issued policies to individuals and groups had to include benefits mandated by the federal health reform law
- such as enhanced coverage for preventive care and a prohibition on caps for lifetime benefits....
What's happening, she said, is that the Commerce Department is still getting guidance on details of health reform from the federal government.
- That, in turn, has led health plans to file amendments as recently as this week for new rates and policies.".....