New York Life bails as AVMA health insurance underwriter
New York Life Insurance Co. will no longer offer medical insurance for the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Group Health and Life Insurance Trust (GHLIT) effective midnight Dec. 31, 2013. The longtime policy underwriter for the AVMA GHLIT cites “the evolving market conditions and regulatory environment created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” as the reason it can’t offer competitive medical insurance for association plans such as GHLIT’s, according to a GHLIT release.
One of the stated objectives of the Affordable Healthcare Act, signed into law in 2010, was to reform the health insurance market. Beginning in 2014 many insurance reforms will be implemented, including new rules to end pre-existing condition exclusions. Insurers will be prohibited from denying coverage or setting rates based on health status, medical condition, claims experience, genetic information, evidence of domestic violence, or other health-related factors. “Never have we experienced the uncertainty and immense challenges that confront the insurance industry during this time of health care reform,” a letter from GHLIT trustees released Dec. 14 reads.
New York Life will continue to provide life, disability income and other nonmedical coverage through the GHLIT, and medical coverage will continue throughout 2013. However, GHLIT is now faced with helping members secure alternate medical insurance by Jan. 1, 2014. A statement from the organization assures AVMA member policyholders that the trust is working with its business partners to transition medical plan participants to the new program.
“We understand the significance of this change and the confusion it may create,” the statement reads. “Be assured that the Trust remains dedicated to your protection and is working diligently to ensure there are no gaps in coverage for you or your family.”
James H. Brandt, DVM, GHLIT chairman, says in a separate statement, “For the past 56 years, the Trust has protected its members through numerous industry changes with an array of quality coverage. This will be no different. While we are saddened at the prospect of ending medical insurance as a benefit to our members, our top priority is ensuring that they do not experience any gaps in coverage.”
GHLIT trustees say members will receive regular communications on the trust’s progress concerning this matter. Members are encouraged to contact GHLIT at (800) 621-6360 or go to the website, avmaghlit.org, with any questions or concerns.