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

    For all those that talk about the "grandfathered" plans.

    You do realize that these plan ONLY exist if the insurance continues them. Which they will not if they are not profitable. The insurance companies, like any successful business, will cancel a sales line that loses them money.

    If YOU want to keep it you can try, but it wont be there for you to keep as it is not being offered anymore.

    October 29, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  2. Malory Archer

    rewster

    Why would anyone believe anything from anyone who tells us to believe in a plan that in Pelosi's words "we'll find out what's in it after we pass it."?????

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

    Why does your ilk always post a fragment of the entire conversation? Oh, that's right -because telling the truth would destroy your narrative. The rethugs refused to even attend meetings or provide input into the ACA bill, so Speaker Pelosi advised them that they could learn what's in it once "we", meaning the dems, passed it.

    October 29, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  3. oreo

    If you were surprised about the failure you need to take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror. Government can do nothing cheaply or correctly.

    October 29, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  4. StarGazer

    Rudy – ok ... my childrens Well Child checks and our Checkups will be covered BUT ANY Physician Services, Hospital Services, Testing, etc and medications are NOT Covered at the 80 percent untill after deductable has been met....... point being made is there is no money there to cover deductable in full the way we are being told it is.... the way you explained it is how I "thought" it was but I was corrected to what my understanding is now??

    October 29, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  5. Shutupalready

    You can read more on the so called "Grandfathering" in of the policies on MSN. MSN is a very liberal site, but the article they have running is very different than this one on CNN. Seems as though someone's a bit upset with this law over on MSN.

    October 29, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  6. Trey

    You mean it wasn't completely truthful from the president's lips? I'm shocked I tell you, shocked!

    October 29, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. Digdeeper

    Being able to afford the monthly installment of a current plan is only one measure of a plan's worthiness. A good plan should be affordable yes, but it also needs to protect your family adequately from catatstrophic and/or long term illness/hospitalization. Too many currently "affordable" don't do that. On the flip side, if a plan is too generous and encourages too many doctor visits, greenlights too many unnecessary meds and procedures then it doesn't work for the system as a whole as it leads to higher costs overall. Many current plans fall into that category too. The ACA set up a baseline by which all plans are measured in terms of how well they cover you (beyond simply liking the monthly price) and how well they protect others in the system and the system as whole. It may be that the president should never have promised that you can keep your insurance, but if your plan is being canceled then its likely it was an inadequate plan to being with when considering the factors above (even if the price was right).

    October 29, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. travel s

    As far as I can tell in Westchester county New York, there are only two plans at this time ... I would have to pay about 675.00 a month and there will be about a 6500.00 deductible then the insurance will pick up 70 pec of the cost and I would be responsible for the 30 pec.. Now on a 70,000 bill say., which today is not much in the health care world... I would have to pay an additional 20,000 dollars give or take.... I do not know about any one else but I am not a billionaire and I do not think any billionaire would be able to afford or want a coverage like this... It seems to me like population control ... only the super rich would be able to afford a plan like this and I do not think they would find it a good policy either.... This stinks... big time.. I would be bankrupt in the one visit!!!!

    October 29, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  9. Mary

    EVER day people have to put their SSI # out there jsut to apply for a job.. Almost any job.. People "risk" this every day to find work..
    We have no idea WHO gets that info..OR what they could do with it..
    But do the GOP have any ideas on protecting Americans from that???
    Their false concern is despicable..
    They ONLY are interested in Big money and how this ACA effects that... NOTHING else.

    October 29, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  10. Data Driven

    @Thai Ice T Party,

    I'm reposting your helpful comment, if you don't mind; let's see if the sockpuppets come up with an answer.

    " missing from this "story" is the fact that plans that existed prior to March of 2010 are grandfathered in. So, it is absolutely true for Obama to say in 2009 that you could keep your EXISTING plan. So, how is this a case of Obama being misleading? It seems more likely that this is another example of the MSM being misleading, because its journalists lack critical thinking skills. For example, if you signed up for a plan in 2011, it is after the grandfather date and, obviously, after Obama's statement in 2009 that you could keep your existing plan. A plan created in 2011, did not exist in 2009."

    October 29, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. Shiley

    Yeah, hey...everything's fine! Whatever he says is true, of course. It's George Bush's fault that people can't really keep their plans and that the costs are spiraling upward! Get with the plan!

    October 29, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  12. Malory Archer

    Shiley

    Yeah, hey...everything's fine! Whatever he says is true, of course. It's George Bush's fault that people can't really keep their plans and that the costs are spiraling upward! Get with the plan!

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

    Grow up.

    October 29, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. Willy

    Seems to me, that the insurance companies are taking advantage of the situation. They don't want their profits reduced! So we should not be surprised, that this is happening.

    October 29, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  14. yippeeskip

    You could have read the damn thing(Obamacare) BEFORE you passed it...

    October 29, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  15. LALLEN

    Everyone who's for Obamacare talks about the fact that so much is covered, but guess what's not covered..GETTING SICK!! Remember the old days (2 years ago) when you or your child got sick you could go to the dr with a $20-$30 co-pay, but now office visits are applied to the deductible so unless you've met your $2000-$4000 deductible you'd better have some cash on hand, doctor offices don't let you run a tab. I guess if all else fails you can go to the emergency room. Preventative care is nice, but now my daughter has to think about $'s if she wants to take my granddaughter to the dr when she's sick. "pay for the office visit and skimp on groceries this week OR not go to the dr and just hope that the baby's ok". AFFORDABLE CARE ACT??? It's NOT affordable, It's NOT better care, It's NOT an ACT it's the finger flick that's going to collapse the house of cards that we call our economy. God Bless American, and God Help America.

    October 29, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  16. bdby

    I work but I am on my wife’s health care program. We just renewed but noticed that our dental and vision didn’t double, but TRIPLED!!!
    This Obamacare has got to be repealed just from seeing the comments of what it is doing to other Americans. The market can take care of itself there was no need for big government to get into the health care field. It is a disaster that has happened.

    Obama is a socialist that has an agenda that “dumbs down” all Americans into a single profile. That being said Obama can then say “Big government” knows what is best for you. All he has done since being in office is lie, lie and lie some more to the American people.

    American have to replace democrats so that Republicans can have the majority to deal a death blow to this disgrace they call a law.

    October 29, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  17. LC

    I get to keep my policy. BUT THE RATE IS GOING UP $800 A YEAR!!! My insurance is now also part of the state exchange and had to boost rates across the board to pay their anticipated costs for new enrollees under the "affordable" healthcare act. I'm a retiree on a fixed income. Where am I going to get the money?? That is $800 I also won't have in my wallet to spend to boost the rest of the economy. I shopped our state's site and it will cost much more than what I'm already paying, and I won't qualify for a subsidy. I now know who is paying for Obamacare: ME. No more affording real hamburger – I'm opening a can of dogfood.

    October 29, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  18. Henry

    This is my case in a nutshell. I cover my son and I for $250 a month. I was notified that my plan was going to be cancelled effective 12/31/13 and that I would need to apply on the health insurance exchange for coverage. My premiums for the catastrophic plan for the two of us would be $355 a month.

    October 29, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  19. tom l

    @Data
    "missing from this "story" is the fact that plans that existed prior to March of 2010 are grandfathered in. So, it is absolutely true for Obama to say in 2009 that you could keep your EXISTING plan"

    Really? You're going to try and wiggle his way out of the big lie with a technicality? We all knew what he meant. He meant to say that the ACA is not going to intrude on you. It is just for those that don't have healthcare insurance now. If you have a plan, that's cool and you can stick with it.

    Now everyone being peddled out starts talking about these plans that don't meet the new standards as "swiss cheese" or a terrible plan. The arrogance is amazing. How do they know whether the plan was good for some individual or not? 85% of Americans were satisfied with their healthcare before the law. 85%.

    This is the greatest twist of intentions since Bush changed from WMD to bringing democracy to people. Now it's not about "if you like your plan you can keep it". Now it's about "gee little puny American, you don't know how bad the plan that you liked really was but WE, the government, know what is best for you!" Impressive bait and switch.

    Bottom line is that you can NOT keep your plan whether you like it or not. You can keep your plan if the GOVERNMENT likes it.

    October 29, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. livingston

    I just don't understand people. I'm not sure if they are willfully trying to be dumb or are honestly so.
    If you have insurance – no problem. You don't need to buy anything from the exchange. If you can get insurance somewhere else, feel free to do so. Call around and get the price and coverage you want. The exchange is set up for people who can't get it anywhere else. Up until now most insurance companies got to pick and choose who they covered, how much they got to charge for substandard coverage and how much they covered. Now there are standards so they can no longer take advantage of consumers. Nowhere does it say that you can only buy from the exchange. If your insurance company has dropped a policy it is because it does not offer the minimum coverage as required by law. How about if everyone just stop playing politics and grow up.

    October 29, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  21. Data Driven

    So now we're starting to see responses to the "grandfathered" plans. Looks like the sockpuppets, along with CNN, forgot that whole part.

    So, um, Obama didn't lie, now did he? Scoreboard!

    October 29, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  22. Dale Little

    As usual, after talk radio has been hearing from people involved and talking about these cancellations for days, the major outlets finally have to talk about it. Regardless of what people think about Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, if not for them the main stream media would never report any of the negatives with anything Obama is involved in.
    And what is this "in theory" garbage? How about "facts?" More people are losing their health plans than are being signed up.

    October 29, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  23. Rudy NYC

    StarGazer

    Rudy – ok ... my childrens Well Child checks and our Checkups will be covered BUT ANY Physician Services, Hospital Services, Testing, etc and medications are NOT Covered at the 80 percent untill after deductable has been met....... point being made is there is no money there to cover deductable in full the way we are being told it is.... the way you explained it is how I "thought" it was but I was corrected to what my understanding is now??
    ----------------------------
    Medications are separate from procedures. All procedures are supposed to be covered 80/20 until you hit your cap. Some are fully covered. Who was it that "corrected" you? It sounds like right wing media. My plan has been in conformance since 2011. All preventive care is covered with no deductible. Procedures are covered 80/20 until I hit my cap, after which time all procedures are fully covered.

    October 29, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  24. StarGazer

    Thank You Lallen for pretty much summing up what I was saying our plan is doing

    October 29, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  25. Chad in MA

    I already lost my employer provided health plan, my employer cited Obamacare as the principle reason for the surge in costs. My state (Massachusetts) is as democrat as it gets and my employer, a large scientific institution, is friendly territory for the president. Still, the law has had an overwhelmingly negative impact on us and we are now forced to choose from low service, high cost/high deductible plans.

    October 29, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
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