Two months after the health insurance opened through the federal exchange for West Virginia, Insurance commissioner Mike Riley said there was definite progress.
"It is operating much, much better now and people are successfully enrolling through the website," said Riley of healthcare.gov, the federally-run enrollment portal for West Virginia and more than 30 other states. The enrollment period continues until March 31, 2014.
Riley explained that West Virginia had rejected President Obama's proposal for health insurance companies to renew old coverage plans which were not in compliance with the Affordable Care Act for another year.
"We thought it was just best to stay with the status quo, it keeps our marketplace a lot more stable," said Riley on Monday's MetroNews "Talkline."
Last week, Riley originally announced the "single year" re-enrollment proposal was not necessary in West Virginia because of the proactive steps already taken to allow for a transition period that is "consistent with the existing law."
Health insurance companies had offered early renewals which were subject to cancellation under the Affordable Care Act.
"The abrupt CCIIO (Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight) proposal comes at a time when West Virginia employers, citizens and insurance carriers have already made extensive changes to comply with the new law," Riley said.
"In order to avoid further confusion, provide market stability, mitigate potential rate impacts of the CCIIO proposal, and regulate the West Virginia insurance market in accordance with the existing law, we have decided to maintain our current direction."
President Obama had claimed that people who were happy with their insurance could keep it under the new law. Despite which millions of Americans received cancellation notices.
Insurance is regulated differently in each state, so it is up to state officials to make the final decision on any delay. "We have a regulatory responsibility to enforce the law and that's the way we've approached it," said Riley.
At least half a dozen states, so far, including West Virginia, have rejected the delay proposal which include New York, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Washington and Vermont.
"Individuals need to speak with their health insurance agents. These are folks that have vast experience in selling these products," he advised. "(Highmark) Blue Cross Blue Shield is on the exchange and that's the only carrier there, but there are other carriers out there providing coverage."
Only those enrolling with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield are eligible for federal subsidies.
Information for health insurance is also available through health insurance agents as well as the government web site.
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Shauna Johnson, November 2013