Alaska, Oregon lift suspension of insurance carrier

JUNEAU — Insurance regulators in Alaska and Oregon announced Monday that a company that had been suspended from offering health insurance policies in the states over concerns with its financial condition will be allowed to resume that business.

The Alaska Division of Insurance and the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services said they have reached an agreement with Moda Health Plan Inc. aimed at stabilizing its financial position.

The agencies said the agreement will allow Moda to resume selling and renewing policies to individual and group customers in Alaska and Oregon.

Both states late last month suspended Moda from accepting new or renewal policies, citing concerns with the company’s financial situation.

In a release, Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon department, said initially the agency thought it might be prudent for Moda to leave the individual market. The steps outlined in the consent order will instead allow consumers to continue their health coverage with no changes, he said.

The agreement reached “is the best option for consumers because it will not disrupt their current policies,” he said. The department said it retains the ability to respond if Moda doesn’t comply with all the requirements in the order.

“We worked very hard to keep them” in the market, said Alaska Division of Insurance Director Lori Wing-Heier.

Moda is one of two companies that have been offering individual health insurance policies for Alaskans on the federally facilitated online marketplace. Wing-Heier said she has asked the federal government to put Moda back on the exchange and has also requested a two-week special enrollment period. Wing-Heier said people may have selected Moda but had not finalized their enrollment. The initial action against Moda took place near the end of the latest open enrollment period on the marketplace.

Alaska officials in a release said both states came to an agreement with Moda over the weekend that outlines a plan for the company to stabilize its financial position and continue to offer coverage.

The agreement calls for Moda to raise at least $179 million, which is expected to allow the company to continue providing services through 2016. Of that, $15 million would be put aside for the protection of Alaska policyholders, Wing-Heier said. The $15 million bank deposit for Alaska policyholders also could come from existing Moda funds, said Lisa Morawski, a spokeswoman for the Oregon department.

Among other things, Moda also must obtain approval from Oregon regulators before awarding executive salary increases or bonuses.

Wing-Heier said insurers not only in Alaska but across the country have had a tough time. Moda has made a commitment to try to stay in the market, she said.

“They could’ve taken a much easier route and said, ‘We’re out of health insurance,’ or ‘We’re out of Alaska, period,’ and they did not take that,” she said.

Since Jan. 27, Moda has worked through the process of assuring the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services of its ability to continue to serve its individual customers in Oregon and Alaska, said Robert Gootee, CEO of Moda Inc., the parent company of Moda Health Plan. “They have done an excellent job of quickly analyzing a difficult and rapidly changing set of circumstances,” he said in a statement. He said he’s pleased an agreement has been reached on a path forward.

About 10,000 Alaskans are enrolled by Moda on the individual market and about 7,500 on the small group market, Wing-Heier has said.

About 244,000 Oregon residents were enrolled in Moda plans in the individual, small group and large group markets as of Sept. 30, according to the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services.

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