Pressing for ACA fix, Obama calls CT insurance commissioner to White House

Washington — Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Thomas Leonardi is among a group of state insurance regulators who will meet with President Obama this afternoon to discuss the president’s proposal to stem insurance policy cancellations that has caused a furor against the Affordable Care Act.

Using his executive authority, Obama last week proposed allowing insurers to renew policies next year, even if they are not compliant with ACA regulations. But state insurance commissioners like Leonardi would have to agree to do so.

Leonardi, and many fellow state insurance commissioners, have been sitting on the fence, unwilling to say what they will do.

But some commissioners, all from states with Democratic governors, have rejected the idea, saying it would hurt the operations of their state insurance exchanges, which were counting on individuals with canceled policies to become customers.

Regulators in at least five states — Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Washington — have said they will not allow insurers to renew policies that are not compliant with the ACA.

But insurance commissioners in Florida and Texas, who have Republican governors, said they will allow the renewal of noncompliant policies.

But Obama’s “fix” to the ACA will not force insurers in those states to do so, and the industry is very critical of the plan.

Insurers think that allowing people on the individual market, who tend to be healthier than the population at large, to keep their existing policies would mean the new state exchanges will enroll a greater percentage of sicker people.

To try to win support for the modification to the ACA, Obama invited a group of executives from the nation’s largest insurance companies, including Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini and David Cordani, president and CEO of Cigna Healthcare, headquartered in Bloomfield. Representatives from Kaiser Permanente, Wellpoint, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Humana and other companies also met with the president.

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