Affordable Care Act Deadline Extended: Sign up by December 19 for January 1 coverage

DOVER, DE  Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart wants you to know that if you want your healthcare coverage to begin on January 1, the deadline for signing up through the Health Insurance Marketplace has been extended until Monday, December 19.

Here’s the release from 

Because of extraordinary demand at and our Marketplace Call Center, we’re extending the deadline to sign up for January 1 coverage until 11:59 p.m. PST on December 19. 

Hundreds of thousands have already selected plans over the last few days, and nearly a million of you have left contact information to hold your place in line. We want to make sure all of you have access to affordable coverage. These additional days will give you a chance to come back and complete your enrollment for coverage starting January 1. 

IMPORTANT: If you enroll in a health insurance plan through or the Marketplace Call Center by 11:59 p.m. December 19th Pacific Standard Time, your coverage will start January 1, 2017. If you provided your contact information at our call center, we’ll call you when we’re ready for you to come back and finish enrolling. 


Insurer Fined $487,000 for Selling Bogus ACA Health Insurance Policies

Commissioner Stewart: Beware of Non-compliant Plans

DOVER, DE  – Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart today announced she has fined Companion Life Insurance Company $487,000.00 for numerous violations of Delaware’s insurance code, including misrepresenting its limited benefit and short term health insurance plans as compliant with the Affordable Care Act.

The fine results from a market conduct examination of Companion conducted earlier this year by Delaware Insurance Department examiners following numerous complaints from Delaware consumers. Companion, a South Carolina company, entered into a Stipulation and Consent Order agreement with the Department on November 2, in which the company admitted to multiple code violations, including failure to provide consumers with pertinent information relating to plan coverage and failure to conduct periodic audits of the operations of two third-party administrators employed by Companion.

The examination revealed that 242 Delaware consumers had purchased non-compliant plans from Companion. One hundred forty-five policyholders chose to terminate their plans, and Companion refunded premiums totaling $18,008.99. Some consumers chose to keep the policies as a stop-gap measure.

“Consumers have to be careful when choosing a health insurance plan online,” said Commissioner Stewart. “The different plans can be confusing and some do not comply with ACA requirements. Before you purchase a policy, please visit to connect with ACA-approved health navigators who can provide you with free help in picking a plan that’s right for you.”

A copy of the Stipulation and Consent Order and the Market Conduct Exam Report for the Companion matter may be found at


Delaware Department of Insurance and NAIC Offer Nationwide Life Insurance Policy Locator Tool

Locator helps consumers find lost life insurance policies, annuities 

DOVER DE — The Delaware Department of Insurance and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) announced a national service that provides consumers with search capabilities to help find a deceased person’s lost life insurance policies and annuities.

The NAIC’s Life Insurance Policy Locator provides nationwide access for assistance with finding life insurance policies and annuities. An estimated $1 billion in benefits from life insurance policies are unclaimed, according to Consumer Reports. The new tool builds on the life insurance policy locator programs developed separately in a number of states before this launch.

“Earlier this year, in response to consumer inquiries about finding lost life insurance policies and annuities, the Department started its own search service,” said Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart. “Now I am happy to announce that the NAIC’s new locater service gives Delawareans an additional tool to track down those lost policies.”

The NAIC life insurance policy locator streamlines and simplifies the process for consumers and insurance companies. Consumer requests are encrypted and secured to maintain confidentiality. Participating insurers will compare submitted requests with available policyholder information and report all matches to state insurance departments through the locator. Companies will then contact beneficiaries or their authorized representatives.

More information on the NAIC locater service can be found at

Delaware’s locater service may be found at

In 2015, life insurers paid more than $74 billion in insurance policy benefits to consumers nationwide. Since 2010, state insurance regulators have investigated unclaimed life insurance benefits. To date, nearly 23 regulatory actions have resulted in returning more than $6.75 billion life insurance proceeds to U.S. consumers.

For more information, call the Department of Insurance’s Consumer Hotline at 1-800-282-8611.


Department of Insurance Recovers Nearly $3 Million for Delaware Consumers through September

Businesses Also Saved $12.1 Million in Workers Comp Premiums 

DOVER, DE – Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart and the Delaware Department of Insurance announced today that its Consumer Services Division recovered $2,959,783.45 for consumers during the first nine months of 2016. Delaware employers also saved $12,126,418.00 in workers compensation premiums during the same period through the Department’s Workplace Safety Program.

The Consumer Services Division received 3,482 formal insurance coverage complaints and inquiries regarding automobile, homeowners, life and health policies between January 1 and September 30, and directly recovered $2,361,693.88 from insurers for Delaware policyholders. The Division also conducted arbitration hearings on behalf of policyholders, which netted consumers $598,089.57 in awards during the same period.

“I want to thank the staff for their vigorous advocacy on behalf of consumers,” said Commissioner Stewart. “Every day they help consumers clear up problems with health insurance companies, agents and providers. And I’m glad the Workplace Safety Program continues to benefit employers and employees.”

The Workplace Safety Program incentivizes employers to establish and maintain safe workplaces. The program provides businesses with the opportunity to earn discounts of up to 19 percent on their workers’ compensation insurance premiums by meeting certain safety requirements and agreeing to undergo periodic inspections. The $12,126,418.00 savings figure, from the Delaware Compensation Ratings Bureau, is approximate because businesses may pay their workers compensation insurance premium annually, quarterly, or by some other schedule.

For help with general insurance matters, call the Department at (302) 674-7300. Call (800) 282-8611 for Consumer Services. For more information on the Workplace Safety Program call (302) 674-7377.Go to our website at, and visit our Facebook page, Follow us on Twitter @Delaware_DOI.


Open Enrollment Continues through January 31 for Delaware’s Health Insurance Marketplace

DOVER, DE Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart reminds consumers that the open enrollment period for health insurance plans offered in 2017 through Delaware’s Health Insurance Marketplace ends on January 31, 2017. If you want coverage to begin on January 1, you need to enroll in a plan by December 15.  Delaware residents who are looking for personal assistance with selecting a plan should visit to connect with health navigators who provide free support. Consumers can select or change plans on their own at

According to, if you had Marketplace health insurance in 2016, you can renew, change, or update your plan for 2017 through January 31, 2017: “Whether you intend to renew or change plans, you must update income and household information on your 2017 application to get the right amount of financial assistance. Your savings depend on your expected household income for the year. Over 8 in 10 people who apply are eligible to save, and most can find plans for between $50 and $100 per month (after accounting for their premium tax credit).”

There are always changes in costs, networks and other details of insurance plans from year to year. Don’t assume that just because a plan worked well for you in 2016 that it will also be the best, or most cost-effective plan, for 2017. All health insurance plans offered through the Marketplace cover the ten Essential Health Benefits, pre-existing conditions and preventive care services.

If you were enrolled in a Marketplace plan in 2016, the federal government reports that “by November 1, 2016, you should receive two letters: one from your current insurance company and one from the Marketplace. Together they explain: any changes in your coverage and financial help; and if you need to send the Marketplace any documents.”  In addition, some plans are being discontinued for plan year 2017.  It’s important that consumers who were enrolled in those plans choose a new plan for next year. If you don’t choose a new plan, you may be automatically enrolled, or “crosswalked,” into a similar plan. Once you’ve enrolled in a plan, check your mail for information from your insurance company. When a welcome packet arrives, be sure to read the information thoroughly and save everything in a secure place. It is very important that you pay your premium on time. If you fail to pay your monthly premiums, your insurance company can cancel your policy. If your policy is cancelled due to non-payment you will likely not qualify for any other coverage until January 1, 2018.

If you don’t have health insurance coverage in 2017 you will have to pay a federal fee at tax time.

After January 31, 2017, you won’t be eligible to enroll in a health insurance plan through the Marketplace for the rest of 2017 unless you qualify for a special enrollment period.

Ready to enroll? Consumers can find more details about the various plans and their related premiums and deductibles, as well as any potential premium subsidies they may be eligible for, at

Small businesses can apply for coverage for their employees any time, all year.