A former Health Republic Insurance of New York (HRINY) enrollee is hoping many consumers, health care providers and insurance agents affected by the carrier’s collapse will show up next week, in person, for a hearing on a liquidation order proposed by state regulators.
Arthur Engoron, a New York state judge, has scheduled the hearing on the proposed order for 9:30 a.m. (EDT0 on May 10, in a courthouse at 60 Centre St. in Manhattan, in New York City.
The former HRINY enrollee, David Young, said the people affected by the carrier’s failure should fill the courtroom, to keep regulators from trying to hide what they’re doing from the public.
“I think they’ve tried to do this under the table,” Young said today in an interview. “It shouldn’t be done behind closed doors, in secret. I think the more people there, the better.”
HRINY, one of the nonprofit, member-owned carriers set up with Patient Protection and Affordabe Care Act (PPACA) Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (CO-OP) funding, shut down abruptly on Nov. 30, 2015, forcing 200,000 enrollees to scramble to find replacement coverage for December.
New York state provides no guaranty fund for health plans. The list of HRINY creditors hoping for relief includes former enrollees who are owed reimbursement checks for bills they paid out-of-pocket, health care providers who are seeking payment for services rendered, and agents and brokers who are owed sales commissions.
Young contends that HRINY owes him more than $5,000 in reimbursement for medical he bills paid out of pocket. He sued HRINY over the matter in small claims court, and regulators and HRINY sent three lawyers to contest the small-claims suit, Young said.
Young has filed a formal objection to the proposed HRINY liquidation order, which could shield officials at the New York Department of Financial Services from suits, or subpoenas.
“The whole thing is a political football,” Young said.
Republicans have tried to block funding for PPACA-related programs, and Democrats in New York state have tried to gloss over PPACA-related problems. The latter even blocked HRINY from trying to increase premiums to adequate levels, once it recognized that its premiums were far too low, to avoid letting a PPACA-related program look bad, Young said.
Standard insurance company liquidation orders may shield an insurer and its assets against claims filed outside the liquidation process. But “it’s not taking any money out of the creditors’ pockets for the Department of Financial Services to answer questions,” Young said. “The Department of Financial Services is supposed to protect me, and they’re not doing that. They’re really looking out for their own interests.”
Representatives from the New York Attorney General’s Office and the office of Maria Vullo, the acting insurance superintendent, were not immediately available to comment.