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

    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!

    -----------------------------

    Go read the article on MSN. It's all about the "grandfathering" in...or in this case, it talks about the majority who's been told numerous times by our so called leader, actually won't be.

    October 29, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. Tired of the crap

    I do not like my present President, period! Please cancel this one and let me choose another...

    October 29, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  3. My10Cents

    This again much ado about nothing. In most cases if your policy is being changed it is because it was written or modified after 2010 and with full knowledge by the provider that the original policy or the modifications did not meet the ACA guidelines. If it is being cancelled and it was written pre-2010 and was not modified afterwards (or modifications met ACA guidelines) then that is a choice that is being made solely by the provider to benefit the provider and you need to use the ACA to help you resolve that issue. The fact that is being perhaps deliberately misinterpreted is that when the President spoke about being able to keep you current insurance he said "in most cases" and also added that the exchange would provide alternatives. I agree that for some people that will mean an increase in costs but they should also investigate if they qualify for a subsidy and for those that don't qualify for a subsidy my guess is that your policy had so many restrictions and conditions that if you actually had a serious illness it would have not met your needs or would have ben cancelled post recovery and without the ACA you would have had no recourse at all.

    October 29, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. Peoples State of Illinois

    All ACA is, is another wealth distribution scheme from the left. Take more from hard working people to give to the "gimme dats."

    October 29, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  5. catherine

    My policy has been in effect since 2009. Please Stop the nonsense about “only plans after 2010 blah blah blah...” NOT TRUE.
    My individual policy has been cancelled and my letter from GHI states that it is due to the Affordable Care ACT.

    Please stop defending the lie “If you like your insurance you can keep it.” Know what many of you are saying before you make your sweeping statements that are in fact incorrect.

    October 29, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  6. Jack

    What's actually happening is health insurance is getting an upgrade.

    October 29, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. c

    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.

    ---

    This is NOT socialized health care like the rest of the world. Not even close.

    October 29, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. John Diaz

    When the corporate mandate kicks in we will see this happen multiplied by tenfold. This is why it was delayed, to soften the blow when many employers have to redo policies to include everything that is in the PPACA. Many employers will just kick the employees on to the exchanges where "sticker shock" will once again be in full bloom. We are all being played!

    October 29, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  9. Debbie

    Excuse me!! No one is talking about the people whose insurance is "to good" for the government,like mine... so our coverage is dropping because it is better than Obamacare.....and out premiums are going up, our deductible is going up, and we have to pay more out of pocket....Our current plan pays 90%, but the government says it should only pay 80%, or the employer will have to pay a tax. thank you Mr. President....

    October 29, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. Chris

    Data Driven

    Well, I think what everyone is learning is just how AWFUL health insurance plans have been. Many plans don't even meet the basic standard of coverage as demanded by the law. High deductibles, no coverage.

    Of course, I await the outrage from conservatives, who seem to prefer such coverage.
    _______________________
    You liberals just don't get it.....a healthy person is much better off (financially) with the cheap insurance that has a high deductable and very low premiums. Being a healthy individual means they only have to go get an annual physical and can just pay for that out of pocket but they still have coverage for catastrophic events. This makes the monthly premiums LESS THAN HALF the price of traditional plans PER MONTH even when you take the cost of the yearly physical into account!!! Why do we need all this coverage that will more than likely NEVER be used, if a major event happens, these plan covers it!!!!!! So why in the world do they have to have these extremely expensive plans if they don't want them????????? You people will support Obama no matter what he does or how much he lies!! He FLAT OUT LIED about keeping our current plans and that is a FACT!!! This law is a complete joke and disaster, maybe Obama should actually think things through before passing them!

    October 29, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. EdB

    The lies are bad enough. The arrogance accompanying the lies is reprehensible.

    October 29, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    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.
    -------------------
    Anybody with half of a brain could figure out that policies had to change in order to conform to the Patient Protections.

    October 29, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  13. J Russ

    Malory Archer – not sure about Dan's deal but my daughter works part time as a bartender and waitress and can afford health insurance at ~ $400 / month......along with a mortage, house insurance......etc. She's happy with it, doesn't qualify (or want) the government to pay for it. Unfortunately, based on word from her insurance provider, she's waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    October 29, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  14. Fair is Fair

    Debbie

    Excuse me!! No one is talking about the people whose insurance is "to good" for the government,like mine... so our coverage is dropping because it is better than Obamacare.....and out premiums are going up, our deductible is going up, and we have to pay more out of pocket....Our current plan pays 90%, but the government says it should only pay 80%, or the employer will have to pay a tax. thank you Mr. President....
    --------
    Too bad, Debbie... you have to be assimilated into the Borg collective... resistence is futile...

    October 29, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  15. itsjustme17

    @Data Driven
    "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."

    I have Anthem BCBS.

    @Malory Archer
    "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."

    I never said that's what my employer is paying, I said that was what I was paying. And it's great coverage – 100%. So I'm sorry your daughter and husband were paying so much, but don't equate their experience to mine :)

    October 29, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. Salverda

    It doesn't matter whether, years after the fact, his thoroughly analyzed and dissected words can be judged to have been, "technically," a lie or not. What matters is the intent to deceive. Did people who heard the questionable statement get deceived by it? And was that the intent of the person who made the statement? People who heard Obama's say that they could keep their old insurance if they liked it, agreed to support the passage of the law based upon his word. Only after the law was passed did they find out that they had been deceived by what they heard Obama say. Obama ostensibly knew that this would be the effect of what he said, and therefore it was a blatant, bald-faced, lie, and Obama himself was the LIAR!

    October 29, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  17. Jeff Bankson

    I'll jump on the bandwagon as another person hurt by the change at a time when I am nearing a lot less income. I am about to turn 62 and have had Health Care provided as part of my Retirement package. I currently remaining working full time at a new business that does not offer health care so I simply retain my Reitrement package at an increased cost each year. Currently my package is a very solid package with Aetna. It cost me $546 a month for my coverage premium. When I first got my retirement package it was $17.50 per month. (10 years ago)
    I went to the Connecticut Care website to look at what options are avaible. To meet my Deductable and Co-Insurance numbers I have today, I would have to chose one of the Gold plans and my monthly cost would move to over $1,500 a month. This is Single Person Coverage.
    Normally not a big deal, right? Keep my retirment plan. Well, in my annual enrolement package I just received, it says due to the new Care Plam (Obama Plan) they are only gauranteing coverage through June 2014. After that they may drop coverage and recommend I sign up for the NEW Governement plan. Even the lowest priced Bronze plan costs more than I am currently playing. HOW DOES THIS EQUATE to affordable health care?
    I get it for people who never could afford coverage or were in a bad place for whatever reason. But for those if us who have contributed to plans for my ENTIRE working life I don't get it.

    October 29, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. jamestbtb

    Jack

    What's actually happening is health insurance is getting an upgrade.

    LOL Nice spin.

    Hey theres a new federal law that's says you HAVE to buy your cable providers TOP most expensive package. But you're better off even though its three times the cost because there's more channels and you had bad cable before.

    October 29, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. J Russ

    Floretta, my employer doesn't pay a big chunk of my premimum as you say – I pay it through the work I do for them, they just send the check instead of me. That's the agreement when I took the job, my insurance premimum is part of my compensation same as holidy pay and regular wages. So what if the IRS rules see this as deductable. Change the IRS rules not the health insurance rules.

    October 29, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. coyoteliberty

    The president and his people lied. They knew they were giving false information, that explaining the nuances of the law, would in fact, cause a huge political backlash and gambled that if they could get it passed and rammed into place before anyone noticed, that politically it would be too late for opponents to do anything about it. They're going to find out that they are wrong. The Social Democrats are going to run on the legacy of a shutdown that affected almost no one who wasn't already a dyed in the wool democratic voter anyway and Republicans will run on the legacy of Health insurance policies that went up hundreds and even thousands of dollars a year and leaves voters holding the bag for higher deductibles and co-pays, requiring them to carry mandated coverages that they do not need and do not want to subsidize free healthcare for millions of grifters and layabouts. All the while, they will be watching the waiting lists for doctors get longer and ERs get more crowded.

    I see another 2010 coming in 2014.

    October 29, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  21. Fair is Fair

    "Normally not a big deal, right? Keep my retirment plan. Well, in my annual enrolement package I just received, it says due to the new Care Plam (Obama Plan) they are only gauranteing coverage through June 2014. After that they may drop coverage and recommend I sign up for the NEW Governement plan. Even the lowest priced Bronze plan costs more than I am currently playing. HOW DOES THIS EQUATE to affordable health care?
    I get it for people who never could afford coverage or were in a bad place for whatever reason. But for those if us who have contributed to plans for my ENTIRE working life I don't get it."
    --------
    Oh, you're GETTING it all righty... hope you get some cuddling and pillow talk afterward.

    October 29, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. Wendy JJ

    We are very happy about the new rates that Blue Cross Blue Shield are going forward with according to Affordable Health Care bill / Obamacare. Currently my husband, with a pre existing condition, pays $1305/ mo just for himself. Under the new Health Care bill, Blue Cross Blue Shield will only be $430/mo saving us over $10,000 a year with better coverage.

    If you can't get on the gov site go to the individual site that each insurance company has. You will be shock how many choices you have and you can even see if your doctor is on each plan!

    October 29, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  23. Nexus

    Either nationalize and ration healthcare or get the government out of it completely. Half measures only make it worse.

    October 29, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. Mommdot66

    This is indeed a travesty and a sham. My Blue Cross Blue Shield plan premium is going up $135 dollars to $350 per month just for me with a $5,000 deductible and increased co-pays. I have not used my plan at all, thank goodness, but it still burns that we were supposed to have cheaper coverage. Again, I'm 47 years old and have had all the pregnancy-related parts removed 4 years ago, I have no need for maternity coverage and DO NOT NEED IT! We've been sold a bill of goods and there is no way that this can work unless young, healthy people sign up to support this convoluted excuse. I also had a chance to look at what the NC marketplace could provide for me and the premium was $20 dollars less than my trusted Blue Cross Blue Shield plan. I'm an accountant and see the quality of the Federal system as it relates to the IRS and Social Security. Given that, I say a big, "no thanks", I will handle my own insurance matters.
    This was not well thought out and is flawed from the top down. It isn't feasible to add millions of folks into a system and expect to save money on the front end and offer inferior products. Someone, mainly those of us that work, are getting screwed to pay for our own insurance and being screwed to pay fees, etc., to pay for those who cannot or will not step up and pay their fair share. It's a disgrace and its needs to be scrapped and started over in a logical manner that actually offers reasonable costs and products that people actually need and want.

    October 29, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. Woodrow

    I'm self-employed. My plan is a high deductible HSA. I pay 630/mo for a 10K deductible for my family – it isn't cheap, but we're covered. We received our letter from the insurance company. Our plan is going away because it doesn't include ACA requirements, like rehab. Instead, I'll be paying over 1100/mo for a $12,400 deductible. So I'd have to pay out, with premiums and deductible, $25,000 before insurance kicks in a dime! We're better off uninsured and paying the fine, which we may just do.

    So no, I can't keep my insurance. As for applying for a subsidy, what is a subsidy? It's welfare. I'm paying for someone else's subsidy, not receiving one myself. This is insane. But now that 26 year old single guy will be able to stay on his parents' subsidized insurance while I can't afford to cover my family. Brilliant Obama – and now they're saying the administration knew this would happen and still kept repeating the line that we'd be able to keep the plan as-is.

    This is personal...

    October 29, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
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