Cancellations, modifications coming for many Americans in individual health consumer market
October 29th, 2013
08:42 AM ET
10 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. GARY

    Everyone just remember you were told everyone pays the same and the benefits will be equal. Now they say get out you pocket book it's time to pay and pay and pay a little more to keep it equal. Unless you work for Big Corp America and or the Goverment then you will not have to worry because OBAMA will pay for this FREE healthcare. Do change the Coach in 2016 Vote !!!

    October 29, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  2. Blacksheep

    Obama lies like the rest of us breathe oxygen ... it's his nature.

    October 29, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. J Lop

    I love how people write comments only to insult others or talk like they know how insurance works.
    1. Individual policies are the ones affected by the Affordable Care Act–these policies usually don't cover much at all, have very high deductibles (say at least $3000.00 to $5000.00) and usually have alot of conditions and exclusions.

    2. Has anyone recently tried to use an Individual Health Policy and be admitted to a hospital?...they will require you to pay a very large "deposit" up front..because they know that these policies don't cover much, deny claims all the time, and simply don't pay much.--the consumer suffers because they are paying into an insurance that doesn't cover much.

    October 29, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  4. USA Waste

    So we take away from all of us who have insurance (because now I can't afford it under Obamacare), to give to those who have no insurance and can't pay for it. This sounds like Socialism.

    October 29, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  5. LarryH

    15% of the population not having coverage is huge - at least 47 MILLION people. It would be nice if some of them started going to the doctor instead of the emergency room when they have the flu or an infection - would cost the rest of us a lot less.

    October 29, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  6. sly

    Hard to believe ANYONE wants a nation where 50 MILLION Americans cannot get Health Care.

    But many Republicans do not want those Americans to have Health Care.

    Most of those Republicans would also vote to eliminate Public Education.

    Sad.

    October 29, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. bdby

    And it begs the question: How does this act prevent the illegals from getting this insurance subsidized by "HARD WORKING AMERICANS?"

    They are still able to just show up at hospitals and still get serviced for free.

    Someone please explain that.

    October 29, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. bdby

    I hope all you people here are writing a letter to your congressman/woman demanding that you get rid of this fiasco asap.

    I sure did and I didn't hold back either.

    October 29, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. Wilson

    It is looking like one good thing might come from ACA. More people are waking up to fact that liberalism is a disease. The ACA is hurting a lot more people than it is helping. It seems to be helping the people that live with their hands out, and hurting the hard working american. And some wonder why america is becoming so divided. I used to feel sorry for the poor, now I realize it is their own fault, a result of their own poor choices. I no longer feel sorry for them, I no longer give the "bum on the street" a hand-out. I have no problem with giving a "hand-up," but no longer give hand-outs.
    $

    October 29, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  10. tom l

    ""An UGLY illegal alien is not the best picture for CNN to put online although it probably represents the group that this new system will benefit most."

    And there it is, folks....all you needed to know about the GOP/Teatrolls and their positions on EVERYTHING. Disgusting."

    Actually, it's all YOU needed to know. Seems to me that is one tiny ugly comment that nobody else supports. But goody for you, Sniffit, because your life's work give you the oppotunity to take one inane comment and apply to everyone else. I thought we were all individuals with our own individual thoughts. But not to a liberal. Every white person thinks the same. Every woman thinks the same. Every African American thinks the same. Blah blah blah

    October 29, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. George

    Does anyone know what the TAX/ penalty is for not being forced into Obamacare? Since my premiums are skyrocketing from $620 to $2900!!! Is it just better to pay the Tax Obama said I would'nt have to pay while he was on the trail to push this down our throats.

    October 29, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. Jason

    Just got "the letter" from BCBS. Same story as about every other post... plan canceled and I have to sign up for something that costs twice as much for the same coverage. How am I supposed to believe anything our president says? Do words and promises not mean anything? How in the world do I teach my kids that truth matters more than achieving an objective? I am used to dealing with half-truths and misdirection out of Washington but bold-faced lies are tough to swallow.

    October 29, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. bnb

    Where is Pelosi, Harry and all other democrats???? please stand-up and answer americans. 98% of americans got screwed to benefit %2.
    This is what happens if you don't read the bill and pass it. pathetic

    October 29, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. frankieworks

    This is all part of the liberal plan! Liberals know what’s best for us, just ask one as they are NEVER NEVER wrong! It’s always someone else’s fault but it’s NEVER the fault of the liberal NEVER! Welcome to the destruction of America! This is what you get when you depend on BIG Government to run your life, lies excuses and more lies! Liberals think this is Transparency, what a joke!

    October 29, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. Know Your Subject

    My single son is one of the unluckey 15 million who with an individual policy. He was not able to keep his old "substandard" policy because the government, in its infinite wisdom, decided that, among other things, HE needed a policy with maternity coverage.
    Thanks, Obama.

    October 29, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. ProudACLU

    I have given up on the whole debate as the majority of posters have no intention of changing their mind when presented with facts that do not agree with their POV. Both the left and the right have extremes that need to be ignored but good God if every discussion boils down to the "it didn't work as advertised and/or I hate the very idea of it" and "your side sabotaged it and you really want to declare WASP theocratic law supreme" then what hope is there of coming together?

    October 29, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  17. Wilson

    @tom l

    ""An UGLY illegal alien is not the best picture for CNN to put online although it probably represents the group that this new system will benefit most."

    And there it is, folks....all you needed to know about the GOP/Teatrolls and their positions on EVERYTHING. Disgusting."

    Actually, it's all YOU needed to know. Seems to me that is one tiny ugly comment that nobody else supports. But goody for you, Sniffit, because your life's work give you the oppotunity to take one inane comment and apply to everyone else. I thought we were all individuals with our own individual thoughts. But not to a liberal. Every white person thinks the same. Every woman thinks the same. Every African American thinks the same. Blah blah blah
    ---------
    sniffit and a few others on here are obviously paidschills.
    $

    October 29, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. Joe Citizen

    I am self employed. I have a family of 5. Since Obamacare started kicking in my monthly premium went from $750/month to $950/month. But my $950/month policy is now being dropped. I will need to replace it with a lesser plan and no HSA for $1150/month. I cannot afford this for my family. Obama has COMPLETELY neglected the middle class in this country. It is hard to say "what if", but I sure do regret that Romney wasn't elected. He is a man who knows what he is doing with proven success. Obama is smoke and mirrors with good speechwriters. Needless to say, I am furious.

    October 29, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. JC

    My company is moving to a high deductible health plan. For over 25 years, we've had an excellent health plan, but our current rates are increasing by over 25%, so we're moving to this high deductible plan now. Now myself and my family will have to pay the first $4,000 in deductibles before our insurance kicks in. If any of us gets sick or needs any type of procedure, I'll have to pay for this out of pocket until the deductible is reached. Plus, my wife is on required medication and instead of paying $5 per monthly refill, we're going to have to pay the full amount until our family deductible is reached. All of this money I'll be spending on deductibles would have been spent on eating out, buying items we need, or placed in a savings account for the future. My uncle owns a small window cleaning company (it's just him cleaning windows to support his wife and two children). He's being dropped from individual insurance. My friend is a manager for a local store chain, and corporate just told him on Friday that all part-time employees who were working over 30 hours per week can now only work 29 hours per week. ACA is going to destroy the economy, and ultimately our country. I also just learned that because ACA is handled by the federal government, if you fail to pay for a procedure while under ACA, the government can take the amount you owe from your tax refund. None of this is my fault because I never voted for this administration. We need to get rid of the ACA immediately or else we'll all be leaving on bread, water, and cheese.

    October 29, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. Johnny DC

    I like how the article only includes the one quote about keeping your health plan, as if he didn't say it over a hundred times over a 3 year span, while now proven to know that was a lie.

    October 29, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  21. ProudACLU

    Conservatism is a disease and a birth defect in itself, but add that to the fringe's edit that the US become a WASP Theocracy it becomes a grave threat to our country. Since they won't compromise, we can't either – either we win and the US survives or they win and the US becomes the United Christian States!

    October 29, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  22. Wild Omar

    Those crazy republicans would like to think that the Obama administration has been secretly sliding social welfare programs under the door in their attempts to bribe the masses and forever sway their votes to the left. But the truth is... oh wait. That's exactly what's happening. Never mind.

    October 29, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. Data Driven

    @frankieworks,

    "Liberals know what’s best for us"

    Based on the comments on this thread, I'd say that's an affirmative.

    October 29, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. Wild Omar

    I probably have several years on you son, so don't "kids" me. When I was in school there weren't as many stars on the flag as there are today. I've watched politicians and their posturing for decades. They all bluster and tell their little political lies, all the while explaining their canards as simple misquotes or contextual errors... But I can say without a doubt that this administration has been the biggest disappointment of all of them. Obama ran on a ticket of hope and change. Well... america bought it. Hell, the whole WORLD bought it. Optimism was at an all time high. The cynical republicans were corraled and a new era of growth and social democracy was being ushered in. Now, we are all starting to wake from the inaugural kegger, and we are facing a national hangover. Transparency, hope, and change have become opaque and all talk, little action. Our relationships with foreign powers, both friends and non-friends are a mess. The three major branches of our government can barely be in the same room with each other, let alone efficiently conduct the business of running america. The president has so many "oopsey's" hanging over his head that the next three years are going to be all about defending his legacy and very little about new initiatives. So, don't tell me about previous administration. This one was supposed to be different. It wasn't. Americans can accept when a leader fails. But we don't excuse it.

    October 29, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  25. Jim

    Democrats and Liberals have finally figured out that the best way to keep a hold on power is to keep the poor right where they are.....expecting Gov't hand outs through the welfare system and now Obamacare! They will keep voting them into office over and over again because they know that with a welfare system firmly in place they can workless and get more in Gov't hand outs while the rest of us who work hard to pay our bills foots the cost of it. I was raised by a father who fought for this country in World War II and lived through the Great Depression. He raised 9 kids without ever taking one Gov't handout when he easily could have. At times he worked 2 and 3 jobs to provide for his family. I asked him once when he older why he did that instead going to the Gov't for help for things like food stamps, etc. He looked me square in the eye and said" Because I was raised that you worked hard and pull yourself up by your own boot straps, you don't expect or depend on someone else, especially the Gov't to do it for you". I sometimes wonder what my father would think of this country he fought so hard for in WWII if he were still alive today if he saw the liberal, socialist path this country has been moved to by this President and the Democratic Party.

    October 29, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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