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Capital BlueCross offers 'grandmothered' insurance plans

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Capital BlueCross has decided to let some customers keep their existing health insurance plans for another year, and it says the response has been positive.

The option is being offered to small-employer groups with renewal dates of June 1 through Dec. 31, 2014, and it allows them to retain their current non-Obamacare-compliant plans. More than 5,000 companies are eligible for the option, according to CBC.

Such renewals have been dubbed "grandmothered" plans because of their conceptual similarity to the noncompliant grandfathered plans allowed under health care reform. The difference is that grandfathered plans needed to be purchased before March 24, 2010, whereas grandmothered plans can have been started any time as long as they are currently being offered at the member companies.

The federal government announced last month that health insurers — with approval from their state insurance commissioners — could offer small-employer customers the option to renew existing plans beyond 2014. The Pennsylvania Insurance Department subsequently said it was up to individual insurers to decide if they want to offer existing clients the option to renew their pre-Affordable Care Act plans.

"We are pleased to provide our small group customers with the flexibility to choose the health insurance option that best meets their needs and budget, whether that is retaining their current Capital BlueCross plan or selecting a new Capital BlueCross plan that complies with the Affordable Care Act," Tracy Onorofsky, senior vice president of commercial group sales at CBC, said in a news release.

The nonprofit insurer is based in Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County.

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