Massachusetts Insurers Close Plans, Leaving Would-Be Customers In Limbo

An ongoing showdown between Massachusetts regulators and the insurance industry resulted in insurers temporarily closing plans to new enrollees Tuesday.

The Boston Globe: "The standoff between Massachusetts regulators and health insurance companies intensified yesterday, as most insurers stopped offering new coverage to small businesses and individuals, and state officials demanded that the insurers post updated rates online and resume offering policies by Friday." Insurers said they were waiting "until a judge rules on their request for an injunction to prevent the state from continuing to block increases for the coverage period that started April 1. ... The confusion — or market chaos, as one insurance industry official called it — followed the state Division of Insurance's rejection last week of 235 of 274 premium increases proposed by insurers." The proposed increases were for policies geared toward the small group market, which encompasses more than 800,000 people in the state of Massachusetts (Weisman, 4/7).

Boston Herald: Consequently, "Bay State residents looking for health insurance were stuck in limbo yesterday as a dispute over premiums led the state to stop directing potential customers to insurers." The state's Web site, a one-stop market for health insurance, included only one choice for customers on Tuesday, a firm called CeltiCare that did not join the lawsuit. The Web site said the firms will return to the exchange once they reset their rates (McConville, 4/7).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.