Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield has announced it will cancel its bare bones Basic and Essential individual health plans that have annual caps. Horizon is the largest insurer in New Jersey. Approximately 95,000 of its individual members have these basic plans.
The company says it’s doing this in concert with a position the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance is taking. Thomas Rubino is Horizon’s Director of Public Affairs and Advertising.
“The statement by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance last week indicated the federal government was requiring basic and essential plans to be changed to meet some of the new requirements or mandates under the Affordable Care Act,” said Rubino.
Robert Field is a professor of Health Management and Policy at Drexel University. He says the problem is the plans have annual caps on that only cover a set amount of expenses.
“What the Banking and Insurance Department said is that insurance companies can continue these policies but only if they get rid of annual caps on coverage, and those annual caps are what keep the premiums so low…I think what the companies are saying is they’d just as soon offer the real deal, the fully ACA compliant policies,” he said.
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield says the majority of their customers in the individual market have the Basic and Essential or Basic and Essential Plus plans.