Cancellations, modifications coming for many Americans in individual health consumer market
October 29th, 2013
08:42 AM ET
11 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

    Highest individual market increase on record after 2009: 22%, for United Health policyholders in California, a state that appears to not have laws on the books that prevent this type of gouging. My source is NYT, last July (and not the Op-Ed page either, sockpuppets).

    Tales about 57% increases are just that: tales.

    October 29, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  2. tom l

    @Data
    "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!"

    I'm not sure why you find this to be a game with your side winning or losing. The fact that you are actually going to say that "IYLYPYCKI" is not a lie just shows how biased you are. Tell that to the 160,000 people who had letters from Kaiser in California that were kicked off their plan. So many people have lost their insurance, or their rates are going up hugely, or their deductibles are going up hugely, or now they have to pay $150 a month or get fined for a plan that a person is still responsible for the first $5000 or more (which they don't fully understand) that I am starting to feel that this law is so intrusive and causes so much work for an individual (all caused by the government) that there are going to be many many angry Americans.

    October 29, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. gutter ball

    Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”

    That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.

    October 29, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. patriot123579

    The only part that's ironic about this is that the President KNEW KNEW KNEW KNEW KNEW that insurance companies would likely drop or dramatically alter their individual plans once the ACA kicked in. He HAD TO KNOW THAT, because his advisors WERE TOLD THAT from the insurance company.

    No matter how you slice it, that means the President KNOWINGLY lied to US. I'll say that again. BARACK OBAMA KNOWINGLY LIED TO YOU ABOUT OBAMACARE.

    KNOWINGLY LIED.

    October 29, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. aca

    So if you have received a policy cancellation notice and you have been unable to log in to the ACA website, don't worry. Just wait to have your heart attack until after the website is back up. And all that talk of death panels is pure nonsense... You will face the choice of paying $150k for treatment for a heart attack since your policy was cancelled or staying home. No worries. Think about it for a couple of hours before you call the ambulance, and your problems will be solved for you by our President. You won't have to worry about healthcare anymore. It will be a lot less expensive for your estate to pay for a plot and a headstone.

    October 29, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. A True Conservative

    @data driven – you may doubt my story all that you wish. The fact is that it is true – I just signed up during my company "open enrollment period" this week Per pay cost up 30% vs last year. Co-Pay up 20% vs last year.Out of pocket max went from $2500 to $7000. Went from four choices for insurance coverage to three. Thank you again Mr. President – you really helped this working family!

    October 29, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. KBNJ

    Anyone who believed Obamacare would be cheaper, that everyone would be able to keep their plans and doctors, and/or that this wouldn't REALLY spin our national debt out of control is totally out of touch with reality.

    October 29, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. srcactus

    Sabotage by government agent. ACA ; or oxymoron in a free society!

    October 29, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. Mike

    America wanted change and wanted Socialized health care like the rest of the world. You got it now stop complaining and suck it up. If you voted for this you have no right to complain.

    October 29, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. Wendy Jeltema

    According to the testimony – apparently there are so called" insurance plans" that DO NOT cover Hospitalization, Cancer etc. etc. Why are they calling that insurance? These are the same people that are complaining that they can't keep their same coverage – it's because that's not insurance coverage. When these same people end up in the emergency room or in the hospital someone else – you and I, the tax payer – ends up picking up their share in higher premiums.

    October 29, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  11. Mike

    America wanted change and wanted Socialized health care like the rest of the world. You got it now stop complaining and live with what you wanted nothing is free. If you voted for this you have no right to complain.

    October 29, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  12. Gunderson

    Excuses, excuses. Old Gunderson see some here are making every excuse in the book for Obama Care. Fact: For many, or most, your price will go up to fund all the down and destitute's health costs. Old Liberal Plan: WITH YOUR MONEY AND MY BRAINS, WE WILL GO PLACES. The big problem is STILL, jobs. But many. still stick head in sand. P.T. Barnum was right. THERE IS A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE. Clue: Dump Obama Care, you will be better off and certainly no worse off.

    October 29, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  13. MartinR

    SOME PEOPLE?? HOW is 50-75% of all individual policies being canceled "SOME"

    Stop the spin CNN as NBC news is blowing the lid off of this Obama Care lie 75% cancellation rate!!!

    300 thousand in Florida so far 250k policies canceled in NY so far...

    NBC news reported that the Obama administration knew full well what was going to happen as they wrote the law to force 50-75% of all people OFF of their current insurance, in order to make the exchanges viable.

    October 29, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  14. ZenSoapbox

    Really? An entire article based on one unnamed "industry source?" Top notch journalism. This is the first time I have looked at CNN in weeks–and the first story I read completely reinforces why I stopped in the first place.

    October 29, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  15. StarGazer

    Rudy – being that I have MS Medical is deffinatly something I have to keep up to date on. I have the book for enrollement that says what is and is not covered untill after deductably is met. Trust me when I say I really thought it was written wrong but it is not. Everything is covered at 80 percent but not untill AFTER deductable has been met.

    October 29, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  16. josenopy

    Yes, but most of the insurance polices you all a talking about are junk polices. If you got sick you are in big trouble. Yes some of the polices are higher in the States that will not setup an exchange. The States can step in on your behalf and manage the price so it will be lower in the end but they want to see it fail. I can tell you this people if we do not work together to lower healthcare cost in America all your kids jobs will leave America to cheaper labor. One of the reason the cost of healthcare keeps going up is people with no healthcare and people like you with little healthcare so you are one of the reasons it keep going up every year. You should be mad with your States. The States can control the entire all most everything. So So So sad Americans.

    October 29, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  17. Malory Archer

    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.

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

    Yeah, except they're not telling the whole story because it doesn't fit their narrative. The ONLY policies being cancelled are those written after the 2010 passage of the ACA. In other words, the rules were already written and in place PRIOR to those polices being written, so the insurance corporations who wrote those polices KNEW they were inadequate and never should have been issued to begin with.

    October 29, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  18. Jim

    The president didn't lie to get public approval of his Opus Magnus. He simply didn't know what was going on (just like the website issues, NSA spying, and Benghazi).

    October 29, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  19. ZenSoapbox

    Really? An entire article based on one unnamed "industry source?" Top notch reporting, CNN. This is the first time I have looked at CNN in weeks–and the first thing I see comepletely reinforces why I stopped in the first place. Superficial reporting and a complete lack of analysis. Slop.

    October 29, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  20. Anonymous

    Wow another lie from the king, whodathunkit?

    October 29, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  21. Fair is Fair

    "Nothing covered until you pay $2500? Actually, all preventative care and medical checkups are fully covered with no deductible. You pay deductibles on medical procedures, but the insurance picks up the vast majority of it. Additional procedures require you to pay a deductible until you hit your annual cap, $2500, after which the insurance covers it in full. That sounds a lot better than the $7000 in medical bills that you incurred in 2008."
    -------–
    You get ONE checkup per year that doesn't hit the deductible. You ger a sore throat and the doc charges $125 for the visit, sorry – that goes to the deductible. You need a surgery? Sorry – first $2500 is out-of-pocket, as well as 20% of the remainder. And the $2500? That's not a cap on how much you pay in a year – that's the amount you pay BEFORE the insurance kicks in a nickle. Spin away, Rudy... spin away.

    October 29, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  22. truebluetarheel

    How can any of us pretend to be surprised over this mess??!!! It is NOT the American way of doing things...force never has been nor hopefully never will be...If people want insurance they'll get it. Many young do NOT want it and will pay the fine to stay out of it, where does that leave the rest of us? 'EVen Obama "little king" doesn't want it!!! Wake up!!!

    October 29, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  23. Michael

    Where I work, our premiums are going to go up ... and this is BEFORE implementation. I do not think that the POTUS controls who does and who does not get cancelled; the Insurance companies completely control that. In some instances, if not most, I wonder whether such cancellations will be in violation of the ACA. And insofar as the "train wreck" that has been the rollout, the GOP/TP continuously refused funding for the implementaiton. So quit your bloody whining and FIX WHAT's BROKEN.

    October 29, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. Jose

    So Obama told an outright lie? And all we get is spin.

    October 29, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  25. Aerin

    My insurance company did not CANCEL my policy, they simply moved me to a new plan as they have done in the past whenever they wish.

    It does not matter anyway as I have enrolled on the exchange. The exchange will provide stable insurance plans that are not subject to arbitrary manipulations for profit by your insurance company. Once you have large groups of people enrolled, insurance companies will not dare mess with these plans. Unlike now, where as an individual, you have ZERO protection.

    October 29, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
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