According to a New York Post report, hundreds of cancer patients with the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan face the prospect of losing their insurance this week thanks to the collapse of Health Republic, the nation’s largest, and New York’s only Obamacare co-op.
Approximately 250 cancer patients will need to find new insurance that Sloan Kettering accepts by November 15th, or face the prospect of paying for their care out-of-pocket.
Via the New York Post:
Some 250 patients receiving treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center are facing a crisis because they signed up with the only ObamaCare insurer in New York that provides coverage at the world-renowned hospital — and the insurer is going bust.
Now the patients either have to find new insurers and doctors or pay higher out-of-pocket costs for extended care at Sloan.
State regulators are removing Health Republic Insurance of New York from the ObamaCare exchange as of Nov. 30 because the company is gushing red ink — losing more than $130 million in 18 months.
The state Department of Financial Services is advising customers to shop for new policies by Nov. 15, to ensure coverage for the rest of this year as well as next.
State law will allow the cancer patients to get coverage for 60 days after their plan expires on the 15th, but Sloan Kettering is requesting that the state extend that to a full year.
Making matters worse, up until this point no other Obamacare exchange has reached an agreement with Sloan Kettering, meaning there simply aren’t any options out there for these hundreds of cancer patients.
In all, the shuttering of Health Republic has left 215,000 Obamacare customers in New York scrambling to find new, and likely less affordable plans.
This disaster has been on the horizon for some time, as Health Republic consistently operated in the red despite receiving $355 million in taxpayer funded low-cost loans. They lost at least $80 million this past year despite those loans.
As Betsy McCaughey explained after word of Health Republic’s demise came to light, this is a nationwide problem:
Congress loaned a whopping $2.5 billion of taxpayers’ money to Health Republic of New York and 22 other boondoggle insurance co-ops, even after being warned by its own budget experts that many co-ops would fail and not repay the loans. How carelessly politicians spend other people’s money.
Congressman Chris Gibson has called for an investigation into what happened with Health Republic and the state’s role in failing to properly oversee the disaster.
Gibson told Time Warner Cable News that the co-op’s failure could be the start of a trend that leads to the collapse of the insurance market.
“This failure represents about 20 percent of the individuals in New York state that went to the market for insurance,” Gibson said. “If this trend continues it’s going to be destabilizing for market.”
“We need to know what happened.”
Governor Cuomo has pointed the finger at the Obama administration instead, saying they’ve been working closely with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.