The Freelancers Insurance Co. will withdraw from the market and serve its insured members through Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in 2015, the Freelancers Union announced on Tuesday. The 250,000-member organization at the same time is expanding its health-center model, aiming to take it nationwide over the next five years.
The decision by the Freelancers Union to ease out of the insurance market stems from changes in the market. The union's groundbreaking low-cost health plan was not compliant with the Affordable Care Act—an ironic circumstance, given that its insurance was designed to be affordable to thousands of freelancers and sole proprietors in New York who had few lower-priced options prior to the debut of the state's Obamacare health exchange last year.
In August 2013, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that exempted the union's for-profit subsidiary, Freelancers Insurance Co., from selling its plan on the state's insurance exchange, the New York State of Health. With the blessing of state insurance regulators, the subsidiary was allowed to let members renew their policies before the ACA took effect Jan. 1, 2014. Under the law, organizations no longer could restrict coverage to members of certain groups, as the Freelancers Union did.
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