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. Data Driven

    @A True Conservative,

    "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."

    Do you have specific details to illustrate your complaint? HOW much more? What is the new plan NOT covering? I'm not wanting to invade your privacy or anything, but you did bring it up.

    Without illustrative details, it kinda sounds like a story.

    October 29, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  2. beachykeen

    ..."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."

    From what I understand, ALL plans must have maternal/obstetric coverage minimums. For an older woman who no longer wants children, in fact can longer become pregnant, this is a ridiculous minimum to include in any plan I have. Not having the choice to opt out of it under any terms (which I have done for years) is just plain..$TUPID

    October 29, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  3. Disappointed in NJ

    We are having outpatient surgery soon on our child. There is only one plan which lets us keep our family doctor (Horizon EPO Gold) and that one has not a single doctor who can perform the procedure. The doctor we are planning to use works through a hospital which has not joined the EPO network, there is exactly one hospital which has joined. Fortunately, we are not getting kicked off of our current plan for another 12 months. But HHS really needs to get its act together

    October 29, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  4. freedom

    The very people he manipulated with "hope and change" are the ones he's abusing – having their policies cancelled so they're forced to pay for those without it through Obamacare. Total deception and fraud. This is a crime – and he's responsible.

    October 29, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  5. Teresa

    My 6 year old sons individual policy is getting canceled next year thanks to ACA. The new ACA policy being offered by Anthem costs the same with a 6k deductible instead of a 1500 deduct. NOT CHEAPER! The worst part is that it does not cover him for any out of state treatment. We live in MO and his heart surgeon is in CA. So now when he needs a heart surgery he has to go to one who does the procedure a couple times a year instead of every week. This is much riskier. Obamacare is not cheaper. Take the deductible and divide by 12 and add that to the premium. How many families could afford that! Not many. People do not realize the true cost because they are healthy. Bankruptcy rates are going to soar.

    October 29, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  6. itsjustme17

    Under Obamacare, my employer sponsored healthcare for my family of four will go from $4200/year to $7400/year – I don't consider that an improvement, paying almost double for the exact same coverage I had previously. And don't tell me I can go get coverage on the exchanges, because my 100% coverage EPO doesn't exist; getting a 90% coverage plan would cost me even more. Believe me, I am very concerned about the future...

    October 29, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  7. Concerned

    A couple of weeks ago, a sweet friend of mine with lymphoma and a one year old baby was told that her chemo treatment costs are suddenly going up hundreds of dollars due to the implementation of new healthcare changes. She is at the lower end of the middle class spectrum and may no longer be able to afford chemo treatments. My uncle was recently dropped by his doctor because of healthcare changes. Also, my 93 year old grandmother has been informed she may soon lose her health insurance coverage. Sad, scary, and shameful!

    October 29, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  8. pcappit

    Do not blame Obama, Reid and Pelosi, the authors of the ACA (Obamacare). Blame a willfully ignorant, uninformed and in some cases plain unintelligent electorate that didn't just vote for the Socialist (and yes he is, as was his mother and his political inspiration Frank Marshall Davis was a card carrying member of the Communist Party of America). Blame the voters for failing to learn who this man was, what he was about and what his lifelong philosophy was, not what the propagandists in the media wanted you to think.

    October 29, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  9. USMC66

    More coverage for less... can't happen, especially when you add tens of millions to the rolls.Check out the deductibles on the new "cheaper" plans. Many of us don't want maternity coverage, but we have to get it. Every large government entitlement is a financial disaster and this will be another. What's going to happen when we run out of money. Oh yea they can print up some more... Like Germany after ww1.

    October 29, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  10. jharry

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

    Carney is s stooge. My premium is going from $410 per month to $976 per month on Covered CA. My deductible is increasing from $5000 to $6250. My out-of-pocket maximum is decreasing from $8500 to $6350. So these clowns think that paying $6792 per year more for a $2150 annual reduction in out-of-pocket max is a good deal??? They obviously have to much money, fire them!!!

    October 29, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  11. ktown8

    Just more lies and deceit from the President. What a disaster. As a single man, I'm pumped that I'm being forced to have maternity and other worthless insurance that doesn't apply to me. We have been bamboozled by one of the best salesmen America has ever seen.

    October 29, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  12. Rob

    The largest middle class tax increase in history! I just switched parties. This President and administration is all about lying to the people. It killed me to change parties after 30 years. Never thought I would say this, the Tea party is starting to look good.

    October 29, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. Diane

    I have purchased BlueCross-Blue Shield for 23 years in the individual market. I carry a high deductible, see any doctor that I want, am able to receive care at university medical centers, have well child care, vaccinations, mammograms all covered. It is not compliant with ACA due to the high deductible (option that we chose – we will pay for the small stuff, insure ourselves for the big stuff), and is cancelled in 9 weeks. Unable to purchase from website as we live in a state with a federal health exchange – I mean non-functioning healthcare exchange. On phone, have been told that the option available to us at the same price is a Blue Cross HMO, have to change all doctors, can not go to the university medical centers, and only pay 70% of in -network anyway.

    I am actually thinking that this was part of the plan. Force those in the individual market into the Obamacare market (5% of population = 15 million) and then the market system that they designed works except for the crappy, high priced insurance products that they are slinging.

    October 29, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  14. Terik Ororke

    Will the administration claim that they were unaware that many will in fact lose their plans and will Americans buy that? It is just like denying knowledge of spying on foreign leaders. The "affordable" bill was prepared well in advance with the backing of the insurance industry and we are to believe that it is a benefit? It certainly is unles you are paying for those who never had health insurance. So pay up and keep ypur phone off the hook...you ever know who is listening.

    October 29, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  15. Government Waste Rules

    I don't remember President Obama saying "maybe."
    More lies.

    October 29, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  16. Data Driven

    @freedom,

    "Total deception and fraud. This is a crime"

    Oh please. The poor will get subsidies; those not so poor will get better coverage as mandated by law.

    October 29, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  17. jpmichigan

    What should we do? I suggest that ALL AMERICANS who have received healthcare insurance cancellations, make a copy of that letter and sent it on to the President. Seeing the notices visually, he can no longer deny what the ACA law that he an the Democrats crafted, passed, and mandated is doing to the middleclass.

    October 29, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  18. Data Driven

    @itsjustme17,

    "Under Obamacare, my employer sponsored healthcare for my family of four will go from $4200/year to $7400/year – I don't consider that an improvement, paying almost double for the exact same coverage I had previously. And don't tell me I can go get coverage on the exchanges, because my 100% coverage EPO doesn't exist; getting a 90% coverage plan would cost me even more. Believe me, I am very concerned about the future..."

    What's the name of your health insurance provider? I'd like to look up them and see if this 57% increase in coverage costs you're complaining about is shared by other policy holders.

    October 29, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  19. smith

    So now we are seeing its not a free market. Some people will not have a choice but to buy into Obamacare.If the trend continues it could become govt. controlled monopoly. Scary.

    October 29, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  20. Dave in Houston

    Time to talk about Impeachment. Starting with the President and the Vice President, and then all the members of the Senate and House who voted for this Obamination.

    October 29, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  21. Malory Archer

    @itsjustme17,

    "Under Obamacare, my employer sponsored healthcare for my family of four will go from $4200/year to $7400/year....

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    If your policy only cost your employer $4200 a year for a family of four, it must been lousy and didn't cover anything. My daughter and her husband were paying $900 a month, and their plan had HUGE deductibles and didn't cover prenatal/maternity care. Thanks to the ACA, they qualify from Medicaid.

    October 29, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  22. sam

    "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."

    And this is the problem democrat economics. If one person gets a subsidy then their costs will indeed go down. But democrats never seem to see that someone else has to pay the subsidy and their cost will have to go up.

    October 29, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Disappointed in NJ

    We are having outpatient surgery soon on our child. There is only one plan which lets us keep our family doctor (Horizon EPO Gold) and that one has not a single doctor who can perform the procedure. The doctor we are planning to use works through a hospital which has not joined the EPO network, there is exactly one hospital which has joined. Fortunately, we are not getting kicked off of our current plan for another 12 months. But HHS really needs to get its act together
    ---------------------------
    I am sorry for your situation. However, your problems have nothing to do with HHS, the ACA, or Obamacare. Your problem is with Horizon's lack of a relationship with your family doctor, and the specialists at this hospital you mentioned. You would have the same problem with or without Obamacare.

    October 29, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  24. Malory Archer

    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. . .

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Those must be some awesome part time jobs your son and his wife have if they can afford to "pay their own way". So, what exactly are they doing on a part time basis that provides them enough $$$ to afford such luxuries as health insurance?

    October 29, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  25. Malory Archer

    Dave in Houston

    Time to talk about Impeachment. Starting with the President and the Vice President, and then all the members of the Senate and House who voted for this Obamination.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Because of a crappy, private sector-designed and operated website? Really? REALLY???

    October 29, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11