Some Californians whose policies have been canceled are finding relief in a surprising place: from insurance companies that aren't offering plans on the Covered California marketplace.
Earlier this year, Aetna announced it would bow out of the state's individual market — effective Dec. 31. Cigna is staying, but is not offering any products on the exchange. Right now, both companies are accepting new customers into pre-ACA plans. Aetna plans are available to Costco members only until Dec. 15; Cigna is offering pre-ACA plans through Dec. 23.
Anne Gonzales, a Covered California spokeswoman, confirmed that a carrier not offering plans on Covered California "could offer a non-compliant plan through 12/31/2013 but it would need to become compliant when it renews next year." So, consumers can enroll now, but when the policy comes up for renewal in 12 months, the plans would need to come into compliance with the ACA -- and premiums would almost certainly go up.
Jason Andrew, CEO of Stone Meadow Benefits in Redwood City, says he has "tons of letters on my desk" from clients who have received notice that their policies were canceled. The policies they have been offered are "all more expensive and not as good of coverage," he says.
One of Andrew's clients is Mary McEvoy Carroll of Menlo Park. Carroll, 61, had been paying $375 per month for a Health Net plan, with a $4,000 deductible, which is now being canceled. Her new ACA-compliant options ranged from $625 to $761 per month for a bronze plan. Andrew helped Carroll sign up for a Cigna plan, and her new premium is $553 per month, with a $4,900 deductible. Andrew says this plan covers "annual wellness and preventive at 100 percent just like ACA compliant plans" and has "no less coverage overall."