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Maryland AG Issued Consumer Rights Reminder About Health Care Insurance Cancellation Letters

Many consumers have recently received cancellation notices from their health care insurance companies. The Office of the Maryland Attorney General issued a statement and reminder to both insurance companies and to its residents about consumers' rights under the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as ObamaCare:

"... consumers who receive a policy cancellation notice must be informed of their full rights and options under state and federal law, and that such communications should be concise and easy to understand. Citing reports of insurance company abuses in other states where carriers have attempted to "intentionally evoke fear and mislead consumers about their options" under the Affordable Care Act, Attorney General Gansler notified insurance carriers in a letter sent today that they will be held accountable if they attempt to drop consumers from their rolls and push them into the exchange without offering a new plan."

Health care insurance cancellation letters sent to Maryland residents should include the following:

"1. Should provide the 90-day notice required by Maryland law, as well as comply with all regulations set forth by the Maryland Insurance Commissioner;
2. Should include a statement, when applicable, that the insurer had the option to renew the policy for one year, but chose not to do so.
3. Should prominently mention Maryland's health exchange; the availability of other health plans on the exchange, including those offered by other insurers, and; the availability of tax credits and other subsidies that lower premiums.
4. Should not automatically enroll individuals in a new plan outside Maryland's health exchange.
5. If letters identify or suggest a new plan offered by the insurer as an option and any comparisons are made between the current plan to be canceled and that plan, comparisons must not only include actual premiums and deductibles, but also the scope of benefits covered, coverage of pre-existing conditions, and the availability of tax credits and subsidies.
6. If letters identify or suggest a new plan offered by the insurer outside the exchange as an option, they must include information on all plans offered by the insurer on the exchange, including information on actual premiums, deductibles, scope of benefits covered, coverage of pre-existing conditions, and the availability of tax credits and subsidies."

Residents in other states should check with the attorney general's office or consumer protection agency for their state.

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