Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Truth: You can't keep the plan you had

Sticker shock often follows cancellation notice for those with individual health care policies
MIAMI — Dean Griffin liked the health insurance he purchased for himself and his wife three years ago and thought he’d be able to keep the plan even after the federal Affordable Care Act took effect.

But the 64-year-old recently received a letter notifying him the plan was being canceled because it didn’t cover certain benefits required under the law.

The Griffins, who live near Philadelphia on the Delaware border, pay $770 monthly for their soon-to-be-terminated health care plan with a $2,500 deductible. The cheapest plan they found on their state insurance exchange was a so-called bronze plan charging a $1,275 monthly premium with deductibles totaling $12,700. It covers only providers in Pennsylvania, so the couple wouldn’t be able to see the doctors in Delaware whom they’ve used for more than a decade.

“We’re buying insurance that we will never use and can’t possibly ever benefit from. We’re basically passing on a benefit to other people who are not otherwise able to buy basic insurance,” said Griffin, who is retired from running an information technology company.

The Griffins are among millions of people nationwide who buy individual insurance policies and are receiving notices that those policies are being discontinued because they don’t meet the higher benefit requirements of the new law.

They can buy different policies directly from insurers for 2014 or sign up for plans on state insurance exchanges. While lower-income people could see lower costs because of government subsidies, many in the middle class may get rude awakenings when they access the websites and realize they’ll have to pay significantly more.

Those not eligible for subsidies generally receive more comprehensive coverage than they had under their soon-to-be-canceled policies, but they’ll have to pay a lot more.

Because of the higher cost, the Griffins are considering paying the federal penalty — about $100 or 1 percent of income next year — rather than buying health insurance. They say they are healthy and don’t typically run up large health care costs. Dean Griffin said that will be cheaper because it’s unlikely they will get past the nearly $13,000 deductible for the coverage to kick in.

Individual health insurance policies are being canceled because the Affordable Care Act requires plans to cover certain benefits, such as maternity care, hospital visits and mental illness. The law also caps annual out-of-pocket costs consumers will pay each year.

In the past, consumers could get relatively inexpensive, bare-bones coverage, but those plans will no longer be available. Many consumers are frustrated by what they call forced upgrades as they’re pushed into plans with coverage options they don’t necessarily want. [...]
The article goes on to give more examples, from people in lower income brackets than the Griffins, who are also loosing the plans they had, and will now have to pay more.

I've been given a 90 day notice that my insurance plan is being canceled.

Health care reform, done properly, should offer us more choices of things we want and need, not choices made by bureaucrats that are shoved down our throats. I want the health care I had, not somebody elses decisions.

The problem with the ACA right from the beginning was that there was no significant bipartisan input. Reform was needed, but it was too one-sided, and this is the result.

Two interesting comments under the article:

11/3/2013 10:11 AM PST
The WH is attempting to blame cancelled policies on insurance companies. However, the truth is that it is due to the ACA.

The so called grandfathering in of existing policies was dishonest. If the cost to the consumer of a policy went up a single dollar ($1) since the law passed in 2010, it was DISQUALIFIED from the grandfather clause.

When the law passed in 2010, the administration already knew the following:

80%+ of individual market policies would not conform to ACA and would be eliminated by law
65% of policies for small businesses and their employees would not conform to ACA and would be eliminated by law
45% of policies for large businesses and their employees would not conform to ACA and would be eliminated by law.

So, when you hear the administration's talking heads blaming insurance, understand that it is simply another lie. This one is all on Obamacare.

11/2/2013 7:10 PM PDT
Don't be deceived, by the latest straw-man argument, into thinking that insurance companies are some how sabotaging Obamacare. Think for a minute: Who wants the "individual mandate" forcing every American to become a costumer of the insurance industry? And: Why would insurance companies want to infuriate half of their current customers by canceling their existing policies, without having the law on their side? The insurance companies know that they won't loose their clients, they will just be "transferred" or "channeled" into more expensive plans that call for higher premiums and larger deductibles. The complicit insurance companies are in cahoots with Obama on Obamacare; Why aren't they speaking up right now while Obama falsely accuses them of canceling policies, and charges them with selling "inadequate" and "unsatisfactory" "bad-apple insurance" products to their costumers? They keep quiet and just take it, because they are colluding with Obama, open your eyes! Sure there were coverages (no coverage caps, pre-existing conditions, 26 year old "child" dependents) that the insurance industry was reluctant to offer, at first. Their costumers would not have stood for the increased costs of these extravagant, and even unnecessary, services. However, under Obamacare they have found a way to get us to pony up, and now, they view these services in a different light. Their clients will be forced by law, to pay for these things, and they have been "allowed" to charge us for them. To the insurance industry, it is as if all of their costumers have been upgraded into their highest cost Cadillac plans. And they are lapping it up, taking full advantage of the situation.

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