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Washington's insurance commissioner says the state will not extend the deadline for Obamacare despite the President's announced policy change. (Washington Health Plan Finder screenshot)

Washington insurance commissioner says you can't keep old plan

President Obama has bowed to pressure and announced Thursday that insurance companies can continue offering consumers their existing health plans for one more year. But Washington state's insurance commissioner says he won't allow it.

Commissioner Mike Kreidler tells KIRO Radio he won't be allowing insurance companies to extend their old policies that didn't meet the requirements of federal health care reform.

"I don't believe this proposal is going to be good for Washingtonians because we have been successful in implementing the Affordable Care Act," Kreidler says.

An estimated 290,000 Washington residents have received notices that their old insurance policies will be canceled.

Kreidler, a Democrat, says all of them can get better coverage on the new health care exchange. He says at least half of them will qualify for a subsidy to help them pay the premium.

President Obama announced Thursday he would allow insurance companies to keep selling their old plans to people whose policies were going to be cancelled. But that decision requires state approval.

"Even if I were to say they could extend their policies, from a practical standpoint, it is not something that can be implemented successfully without really doing serious harm to the overall market," Kreidler says.

Kriedler says he is confident most people entering the new insurance marketplace are "going to be very pleased with the choices they have because they have much stronger protections now for out-of-pocket-expenses and coverage."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
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