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Health Insurers May Offer Early Renewal Option to Extend Plans through 2014

BALTIMORE – Maryland Insurance Commissioner Therese M. Goldsmith today issued a bulletin to health insurance carriers clarifying that Maryland law permits early renewal of existing health benefit plans.  Early renewal could allow existing policyholders to keep their current policies through the end of 2014, even if those policies do not comply with all of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that take effect the first of the year.  

If a carrier chooses to offer an early renewal option, the renewal must take effect no later than 12 a.m. January 1, 2014. Commissioner Goldsmith advised that carriers offering an early renewal option should notify their policyholders of three key points: (1) that they also have the option to purchase a plan that provides all of the consumer protections and benefits afforded by the ACA; (2) that they may be eligible for advance premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies if they purchase an ACA-compliant plan through Maryland Health Connection; and (3) that, as with any policy renewal, early renewed policies will be subject to any approved changes in premium rates. The full text of the bulletin can be read here.

Commissioner Goldsmith advises consumers who are offered early renewal by their carrier to consider carefully whether that is the best option for them. Plans taking effect in 2014 may offer more benefits and other consumer protections. As has been noted, premium rates for these plans in Maryland are among the lowest in the nation. In addition, subsidies and tax credits are available only through plans purchased through Maryland Health Connection, the State’s health insurance marketplace. “Consumers should make informed choices about their health care coverage to make sure the plan they purchase meets their specific needs,” Goldsmith said.

About the Maryland Insurance Administration
The Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) is an independent State agency charged with regulating Maryland’s $26 billion insurance industry. For more information about the MIA, please visit www.mdinsurance.state.md.us​ or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MDInsuranceAdmin or Twitter at @MD_Insurance.

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