Cancellations, modifications coming for many Americans in individual health consumer market
October 29th, 2013
08:42 AM ET
12 months ago

Cancellations, modifications coming for many Americans in individual health consumer market

Updated 10/29/2013 at 10:12am

Washington (CNN) - The vast majority of Americans on the individual insurance market will see modifications to their existing plans, or even cancellations, according to an insurance industry source.

That raises questions about repeated claims made by President Barack Obama reassuring consumers that if they like their current plan, they can keep it.

"If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan," the president said in August, 2009 at a town hall meeting as the debate over Obamacare was heating up.

But the reality, according to an insurance industry source with knowledge of the implementation of Obamacare, is that many Americans, especially those with high deductible, catastrophic care policies will see drastic changes.

As new minimum requirements for their plans take effect next year, modifications and even cancellations may become necessary for those and other consumers, the industry source said. Some plans are going to be so different, the source added it may be easier to cancel those policies and then offer new coverage under Obamacare, which is formally known as the Affordable Care Act.

In many cases those policies will offer greater coverage, but at a higher price.

"Starting next year, all policies are required to cover a broad range of benefits, some of which are not in plans consumers choose to purchase today," said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans. "There's going to be a wide variation of impacts."

"For some people, the coverage they have today is going to be changed to cover the new requirements," Zirkelbach said.

But unlike the pre-Obamacare era, consumers who receive cancellations now have options. They will, in theory, be able to buy coverage under Obamacare and in some cases receive subsidies, Zirkelbach said.

White House officials maintain they have always said some health care plans would not meet new Obamacare requirements.

"There are existing health care plans on the individual market that don't meet those minimum standards and therefore do not qualify for the Affordable Care Act," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday. "There are some that can be grandfathered if people want to keep insurance that's substandard."

Carney argued the new coverage offered under the Affordable Care Act will be an improvement for consumers who see changes to their current plans.

"This is qualitatively better insurance coverage than what was available in many cases to Americans around the country," Carney said.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation website, 15.4 million people had individual health care coverage in 2011, representing more than 5% of the population. The vast majority of Americans – at least two-thirds of the population in 2011 – had coverage through their employer, Medicare, Medicaid or other public providers and will not be affected by changes involving individual coverage.

About 50 million Americans lack health insurance and are the main focus of the Obamacare reforms intended to them into the marketplace.


Filed under: Health care • Obamacare • President Obama
soundoff (252 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    The train wreck has arrived, and the deceit will become very obvious.

    October 29, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  2. Borderless

    I'm sure Obama didn't know this would happen either since he repeatedly promised the opposite.

    October 29, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Under the individual healthcare marketplace, you actually get more benefits than traditional medical plans. The ultimate goal of this law is to drive down premiums which will eventually happen when more people are signed up. I still prefer a single payer system, but the ACA is better than the GOP alternative of nothing.

    October 29, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  4. A True Conservative

    Excuse me CNN, but I've had health insurance trough my employer for over 30 years. I was notified a short while ago that the plan that I paid hundreds of dollars a month for wil no longer be available to me. It has been replaced by a plan that has higher co-pays, much higher deductables and higher out of pocket max. And, with all of these wonderful changes, my monthly cost has increased. Thanks President Obama and Dems in Congress. Thanks to you I have worse insurance at a higher cost than I have ever had before. I certainly hope that you bought a lot of votes with the ACA – at least one of us will be getting something thanks to it! I just HOPE that I can afford and survive the CHANGE Mr. President!

    October 29, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  5. Catherine

    Received my cancellation in September..stating due to changes in the new Health care law....I’m not a fan of either party but my mind does go back to “crazy” Joe Wilson yelling “YOU LIE” to our President. Turns out Joe actually was right.

    October 29, 2013 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    White House officials maintain they have always said some health care plans would not meet new Obamacare requirements.
    -------------------–
    What a rhetorical mess the President finds himself in. "If you like your current health plan, you'll be able to keep it." He failed to connect the dots for people. If your plan is substandard, then your plan will change. Personally, I have always felt that everyone's plan must change in some way to accomodate the new rules regarding pre-existing conditions, lifetime caps, no dropping, etc.

    October 29, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  7. kelly

    doctors accept major insurance, there are many plans your doctor will accept, you can check with your doctor before u buy a plan,

    October 29, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  8. Bill

    "Carney argued the new coverage offered under the Affordable Care Act will be an improvement for consumers" Of course, this depends on your definition of "IMPROVEMENT". More coverage, yes an improvement. Always had insurance, now have to have NEW insurance at two, three times the cost of your old coverage, not so much an improvement. Always had insurance, now have to double or triple your deductible to afford the same coverage, nope, no "improvement" there... I guess this is only an improvement for people that could not get insurance previously but my qu3estion is why didn't they just make a law saying insurance companies could not deny service? What a mess.

    October 29, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  9. Dan

    My son, a University student working part-time, his wife working part-time, and his young son, went to sign up for Obamacare. . . they were redirected, being told they qualified for Medicaid and so could not sign up for insurance under the ACA. . . he has always wanted to pay his way in life and the government is forcing him on to government supported health care. . .

    October 29, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  10. John C

    The plan I've had for the last 3 years has been cancelled. I can choose the new one for $3,347 more. I get dental and pregnancy care. My wife and I are 57. I can choose the ACA silver plan that closely approximates my new independent plan for only $1,500(ish) more. Great, so I only pay $1500 more, except I can't use primary care provider anymore. "It is not a tax", "If you have insurance, you can keep it".

    October 29, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  11. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Just more GOP scare tactics , what's wrong with an upgrade, I'll take it!!!!!

    October 29, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  12. holspark

    He lied???? Get out, no way, Bushs fault, I hate Repubs, I didn't know......

    October 29, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  13. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio conservatives,the garbage of America.

    If you think about it , I don't even know anybody who really likes their current healthcare policy?????an upgrade in coverage can't be bad!!!

    October 29, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  14. kelly

    prices are not higher in exchanges than on the individual market, they are much lower and much better, opponents of obacare keep repeating the same 3 yr old lies over and over, lying is noit going to raise the prices or stop obamacare

    October 29, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  15. Sherman

    From what I've read over 1.5 million people across the country have had their insurance cancelled directly due to the ACA. Therefore for these people they had no choice what so ever in keeping their plan and doctor, despite claims by the President they could.

    October 29, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  16. Data Driven

    Well, I think what everyone is learning is just how AWFUL health insurance plans have been. Many plans don't even meet the basic standard of coverage as demanded by the law. High deductibles, no coverage.

    Of course, I await the outrage from conservatives, who seem to prefer such coverage.

    October 29, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  17. GOP was right

    Wonder why GOP tries to fight some of this idiotic legislation. It's not because they are "trying to ruin America", it's because they know how to do math. And the numbers do not, and will never, lie. Free healthcare has a cost, and you will pay up the cornhole for it, in more ways than you know. But Barak keeps campaigning, telling us we're moving forward, and just to remain apathetic and don't question his authority.

    October 29, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  18. jnobfan

    Bait + switch. False advertising. 2500 pages of BS. This "law" has got to go.

    October 29, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  19. wileysee

    Obama's legacy; the President that knew nothing about anything. The President, along with his media supporters, whose favorite saying is 'I just learned about it myself'.The President who governed as a petulant child.

    October 29, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  20. donbow

    The picture of obamacare, free healthcare to illegal immigrants while the middle class flips the bill.

    October 29, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  21. Anonymous

    My individual family plan was deemed non-compliant and because I had a child last year (considered a plan change when I added the baby) my plan no longer remained grand-fathered. I now have to purchase a compliant plan...which has deductibles 3x as much per person and over 2x max out of pocket.

    October 29, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  22. Jeff

    And anyone still wonders why people take anything the administration says with a grain of salt?

    October 29, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  23. Conrad Shull

    "You can keep your plan, if you can keep your plan" seems to be the policy.

    October 29, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  24. Ted

    So now ignorance of the law allows you to break a law, and a President to lie about the law ? Try using that in court the next time you break some minor law even such as speeding. He last said his famous if you like it you can keep it line in 2012, 2009 was the first time. Now if you like being told by the government exactly what may or may not buy to meet your needs then your as happy as a clam.

    October 29, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  25. SMH

    "But unlike the pre-Obamacare era, consumers who receive cancellations now have options. They will, in theory, be able to buy coverage under Obamacare and in some cases receive subsidies, Zirkelbach said."

    Read the article.

    October 29, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
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