Cancellations, modifications coming for many Americans in individual health consumer market
October 29th, 2013
08:42 AM ET
1 year 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. Rudy NYC

    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.
    --------------------–
    And this argument exemplifies the big pink elephant hole in the wall with right wing logic. If the person had no insurance and needed medical treatment, then someone else has to pay for it and their costs will have to go up even higher because there would be fewer people paying into the system.

    October 29, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  2. Malory Archer

    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.

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

    If those who are receiving subsidies were compensated with a livable wage by their employers, they wouldn't need the subsidies. Instead of whining about poor people finally being able to see a doctor why don't you demand their employers pay them a livable wage?

    October 29, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  3. JDD

    "Data Driven" appears to be getting a lot of data he or she doesn't like. From this conversation thread, and from – finally – previously trusted news sources like CNN.

    October 29, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  4. luckjoe

    Obama should be Impeached.

    October 29, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. Richard Hamby

    When do you think CNN will actually report the news of 10/29/13 that cancellations are already very high and going higher quickly ?

    October 29, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. luckjoe

    Our president should simply bow out and go back to Chicago.

    October 29, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. Ben

    I like the shills on here saying things that can basically be summed up as, "It's better for you, you just don't understand it, trust me!"

    October 29, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. dnokc

    "White House officials maintain they have always said some health care plans would not meet new Obamacare requirements"
    What town hall or campaign speech made this claim?
    NONE!.

    October 29, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  9. Miguel

    What? Obama lying flat out even though he had the evidence in his hands – now way. I'm shocked.

    October 29, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  10. BSH

    Most people are going to pay more for the same or poorer coverage. That's just a fact, it's part and parcel of how the ACA works. People saying health care would be "more affordable" were only talking about poor people and new Obamacare enrollees. The middle class is going to get hosed.

    October 29, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  11. dnokc

    What if the government decides my Ford is not up to government standards. However I'll be offered a Lexus. Of course the payment will be somewhat higher but it's an infinitely superior product. I'm supposed to be happy about this?

    October 29, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  12. wrm

    (facepalm)

    If your plan is cancelled because of us we now give you the new option to... drumroll... buy insurance through us. Unbelievable.

    October 29, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  13. Anonymous

    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
    -------------------------–
    Did you read Rudy's comment? They are being forced out of their current plan BECAUSE of Obamacare! How can you say they would have the same problem without the current legislation?? Without Obamacare they would be able to keep their current plan with access to their current doctor and hospital...

    October 29, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. intentions

    do not get sick. do not seek medical care. I repeat, do not get sick and do not seek medical care. – what a messed up system on the eve of the release of the flu. – lord love a duck.

    October 29, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  15. LarryT

    I blame a news media that has willing kept us ignorant of all of this. The media really is the only way that an average person can be informed of what's going on. They are Obama/Democratic cheerleaders and always will be. Why do you think Edward Snowden had to go overseas to break the story about all of the spying that Obama is doing to the American people. No news agency would break the story because they knew it would make the "Blessed Leader" look bad or they were afraid of what the government would do to them for not spouting the Party line and doing some real journalism. They are so much smarter than us. Now we see why the Tea Party is willing to go to the mat on this, at least I get it now. If I have ever been condescending to the Tea Party, ever, I apologize. You had it right all along. It's not a conspiracy it's just a fact. Obama has been lying all this time and you apparently were telling the truth. I thought "death panels" was an extremist viewpoint put together by conspiracy nuts. Now I'm not so sure. In any event, this can't stand. People who have done it right their whole lives are going to be hurt by this. But now I guess it's too late. Why tell us now CNN? They knew in 2010, why didn't you? The answer I think is that you did and just wanted to help your candidate and your view of what America should be, to hell with us.

    October 29, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  16. GD

    I love all of the Obamafile replies...

    ...can you say lemmings?

    October 29, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  17. Widget in Texas

    Data Driven & Mallory Archer--
    Quit defending Obama.....you're embarrassing yourselves!

    My guess is this man's portion of his policy was $4200.00 with his employer picking up the rest of the cost. That's how my policy works. I am thanking God that I have not received a cancellation notice. My company pays over a million dollars a year for our insurance policy with me only paying $70.00 a month. I feel bad for anyone that is having to try and navigate this piece of cr&p legislation.

    October 29, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  18. bdsh

    Fact:
    In 2008 our family of 5 paid $254 for an Anthem Blue Cross HSA PPO plan with a $3500 deductible. That is low, I know, but that was due to the underwriting process where our overall health and lifestyle was taken into account. After the ACA passed our premium raised to $534. We dropped the HSA compatible plan to save on the premium. Currently we are paying $531 with a $5000 deductible. Jan 1, 2014 quoted premium for the absolute cheapest plan on the ACA (we do not qualify for subsidies) will be $1492 with a $6300 or $6500, can't remember which.
    Our kids are older now but under 26 so we are dropping them from our plan on 1/1/14. They will then become uninsured and for just me and my spouse it will be $627 with the $6000+ deductible.
    What exactly is affordable about this?

    October 29, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Richard Hamby

    When do you think CNN will actually report the news of 10/29/13 that cancellations are already very high and going higher quickly ?
    -------------–
    Technically speaking, most everyone's health insurance policy will have to get cancelled. Most existing policies do not conform to all of the rules set forth in the Patient Protections portion of the ACA.

    October 29, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  20. Boomer in Mo

    Out here in the hinterlands, many have what is known as "fake insurance." When you need to use it, it actually pays for very little but the premium is cheap. At least the Obamacare plan requires insurance companies to quit offering these worthless policies. The law is a mess but the health care industry is going to collapse anyway. I was originally billed $57,000 for a procedure with an average cost of $16,000 nationwide and me and my insurance company ended up paying a total of $18,000. That was in early 2012. The extra $41,000 was unpaid bills shoved onto mine by the hospital and the hospital has to do that or go broke. If I had no insurance, or one of those fake insurance plans, I might have been able to whine and scream and get a 10 percent discount, and would have still had to pay more than $51,000, which would have been $35,000 extra. Something has to be done; either change the system or tell the uninsured and those without medicare, medicaid, bags of cash or high limit credit cards that the are SOL and let them crawl away and die. That actually is how it used to be. My family has a farm purchased in the 1930s from a farmer who had to pay for his cancer surgery in advance.

    October 29, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  21. Disappointed in NJ

    I do believe most people will pay less but will get in the short term less choice and worse service, in the long term rationed health care. the top few percent will opt out. We will get exactly the opposite of what was promised: a two tiered healthcare system with rationing.

    The status quo was probably untenable, some of this is inevitable, I think Obama was more idealistic and naive than deceptive

    October 29, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  22. Joe Mama

    The problem with Socialism is eventually you run out of other peoples money...

    October 29, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  23. Floretta

    You know a lot of the sturm und drang published here reflects a couple of things, First – many existing policies are sh!tty, owners just don't know it because they go along paying for years and never need to use it – but if/when the do, what they need isn't covered or they're not eligible or whoops you can't see your doctor for this procedure.These are junk insurance plans – they have little actual coverage. You get what you pay for, which is jack. My sister had one of these – so bad neither the local hospital nor doctors even recognized the carrier. But she had "insurance" according to the fast food franchise where she worked.

    Second, those with employer-based insurance pay thousands LESS in premiums than they otherwise would because your employer pays a big chunk of it – if it was counted as a taxable benefit (which has been proposed) it would add thousands to your taxable income, without you seeing the cash. The estimate is employees pay 10-15% of the actual cost.

    Third all policies will now have to cover ten basic benefits – creating uniformity across the market and keeping insurers from subscribers the same premiums for policies that cover some things and not others. As for not needing this or that benefit – my children are long grown but I still pay property taxes to support local schools. It's part of being a member of a community, in this case as American citizens.

    Fourth – every major roll-out of a program has had the same issues: confusion, glitches, unexpected costs, missed coverage etc.

    October 29, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  24. general tso

    The truth is that Obama misrepresented (misspoke) what will happen w/ the implementation of the ACA. Some people will indeed lose their coverage and their doctors. No amount of obfuscation by Jay Carney, @ Mallory Archer, or any other blind disciple will alter that fact. Is it the end of the world? No. Do people who jump to the president's defense lose credibility by trying to shift the focus or change the topic? Oh yeah. You're as bad as the extreme right.

    October 29, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  25. Sean

    This is simply lazy, shameful reporting – do you even employ reporters anymore? The truth is that some low-end, never pay out, worthless plan are being eliminated because they are what most experts call "insurance scams". Those low end policies are only being cancelled because they do not present enough benefits for the consumer under the ACA. In Vermont and Mass. they eliminated those types of policies a decade ago. But 85% of the country is on employer plans and those will not change and the other 15% will be offered policies that actually offer real health care. Do you homework, CNN. BTW, I am an employer who pays the health benefits of my employees and I can tell you the old system was broken beyond repair. We're very thankful that everyone is now required to carry health insurance.

    October 29, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
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