According to the Los Angeles Times (11/4/13), approximately 900,000 people in California received notification that their health policies would be canceled. But lawsuits filed by Paul Simon and Catherine Coker allege that Anthem Blue Cross engaged in twisting, a violation of California insurance law. “Twisting” refers to the practice of convincing policyholders to give up their grandfathered plans.
The lawsuits, as noted by Courthouse News Service (11/6/13), allege Blue Cross convinced thousands of policyholders to leave their grandfathered health plans. Those health plans would have protected policyholders if the plans were purchased before March 23, 2010, and met the Affordable Care Act minimum requirements for coverage. Blue Cross allegedly did not inform policyholders of the risks associated with leaving a grandfathered plan. With the protection of a grandfathered plan, policyholders could continue with their coverage. Without a grandfathered plan, policyholders would have to purchase a new plan to replace their coverage, including potentially having a more limited provider network and leaving their current medical care providers.
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“Allowing consumers to stay in their existing plans longer is the right thing to do for policyholders,” said Jones. “State and federal law allow Californians to keep their current policies beyond December 31. The existing policies are likely to have a broader network of medical providers, and for those who are not eligible for premium subsidies, a lower cost than what is available in 2014.”
Lawsuits have also been filed against insurers who unreasonably denied policyholders’ insurance claims.