Obama, insurers admit increase in individual policy costs

 A day after Obama’s proposal to prevent cancellation of insurance policies for millions of Americans, top executives of some of the biggest insurance companies emerged from a meeting at the White House on Friday, expressing mixed feelings about whether the idea could work in every state. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/16/business/after-meeting-health-insurers-question-proposals-workability.html?hp&_r=0
The cancellations had left the president vulnerable to assertions that he had gone back on an often-repeated promise that The insurers, many of whom expressed anger that the president had not consulted them before Thursday’s announcement, said they had come away from the meeting willing to work with the White House on the cancellation issue and still protect the financial viability of the new insurance marketplaces. They did not discuss in detail how the president’s goal might be achieved.   
The participants included executives of WellPoint, Aetna, Cigna, Humana and Kaiser Permanente, as well as several nonprofit Blue Cross plans.
Under the White House proposal, which would affect the 10 million or so people who already have individual policies, insurers would no longer have to cancel policies for 2014 that failed to meet the Affordable Care Act’s standards.
At the meeting, insurers emphasized their concerns that the president’s proposal could actually lead to higher insurance prices in 2015 and beyond by skewing the mix of customers in the new insurance marketplace.
Even if the insurance industry and the president find common ground, thousands of consumers may still not be able to renew their old policies.
There is no guarantee that people with old policies will have them renewed at current rates, and some states have considered approving the renewal of old policies, allowing insurance companies to charge 10 percent or 15 percent more.
 Sandy Praeger, the Kansas insurance commissioner, is still trying to work out how to deal with the roughly 9,000 people in her state who received cancellation policies. No matter what happens next, she said, the consumer will get the short end of the stick.
“Insurance is complicated to start with,” she said. “This, in the best-case scenario, would be a problem, but in the political climate we are in, it is a nightmare for the consumer.”

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