General Assembly Passes Legislation To Permit extension of existing Health Care Plan
RICHMOND, Va, 10 November 2014: The General Assembly today approved legislation that will allow insurance companies to continue offering health care policies that are not compliant with the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the current holders of those policies. Senate Bill 5014 and House Bill 5011 were overwhelmingly approved by both houses of the Virginia General Assembly.
The bills are an effort to address a problem brought to light during the October 2013 ACA rollout. During that period, millions of Americans learned that their health insurance plans would be cancelled if they were not compliant with the provisions of the ACA. In response to the outcry, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services gave states the option of allowing insurance companies to continue offering non-compliant health care policies to the current policy holders for a limited period of time. But for insurance companies to have the option of continuing to offer these policies, states had to enact legislation.
During this year’s regular session of the General Assembly, the House of Delegates passed legislation to allow insurance companies to continue offering these policies to their existing customers. The Senate, which had a Democrat majority at the time, did not follow suit.
The bills do not mandate that insurance companies continue to offer the policies, as doing so would exceed the authority of the General Assembly.
“As the cancellation notices have been going out over the last few weeks, I have been absolutely inundated with phone calls and emails about this issue,” noted Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City). “I felt compelled to try to do something to address this.
“The Virginia General Assembly cannot overturn the ACA. But, we can do everything possible to try to mitigate its negative effects on the people of Virginia. Senate Republicans will.”