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State To Decide Whether Marylanders Can Keep Canceled Health Plans

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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Growing confusion. One day after the president accepts blame for the botched roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, states such as Maryland are now facing a tough decision.

Derek Valcourt explains the state insurance administration is debating whether Marylanders can renew policies that aren’t good enough to meet the new regulations.

This all goes back to the infamous promise the president made — that if you like the plan you have, you can keep it.

President Obama now wants state insurance regulators to allow millions of Americans who received insurance cancellation notices to keep their current insurance plans until the end of next year, even if those plans don’t meet the standards of the new health care law.

“This fix won’t solve every problem for every person,” the president said Thursday. “But it’s going to help a lot of people.”

But already, insurance commissioners in Vermont, Washington state and nearby Washington, D.C. have said they will not allow canceled plans to continue.

Maryland’s insurance administration hasn’t yet taken a stand, saying in a written statement: “The president’s announcement presents a number of complex issues. The insurance commissioner will be convening a meeting of carriers doing business in the state to assess available options from a practical and operational perspective.”

The CEO of Evergreen Health Co-op,  Dr. Peter Beilenson, says the canceled plans have muddied the waters.

“Basically, the whole thing has become very politicized. These are generally cruddy plans,” said Beilenson. “We need to move toward getting to real health care reform and getting people who need it starting Jan. 1. And we’ve got to fix the system.”

Scott Frazier and his family were among the 70,000 Marylanders who received notice that their existing policy — a policy they liked — would be canceled.

“All this stuff that we’re being told, that you had been hoodwinked and you had substandard plans, that’s hogwash,” Frazier said. “The plan we had covered all the basic things that we needed. It wasn’t just a catastrophic plan.”

He was able to work out a more costly solution with CareFirst, but thousands of others now wait to see what will happen with their health coverage.

Friday, Republicans in the House passed a bill that allows people to keep their canceled plans. It also allows insurance carriers to continue selling those plans to new customers. That’s a deal breaker with the president and Democrats.

It’s unclear when Maryland’s health commissioner will make a decision about allowing canceled plans to continue.

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