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

    Finally, the poor and young have to start subsidizing the middle class and rich insurance companies by forcing them to buy policies they do not have money for....

    Obama is a Republican!!!!

    October 29, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  2. Data Driven

    Hm, and while people here are calling me and Malory Archer "unhappy with the data" and hopeless defenders of Obama, I researched rate increases and found nothing as fantastical as a 57% rate increase that "A True Conservative" is claiming. If he/she is paying that much more, then, yes, "Widget in Texas", he/she probably has his/her employer - NOT OBAMA - to blame.

    But, please proceed with Sockpuppetry Theater.

    October 29, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  3. StarGazer

    I was for "affordable care" up untill I realized it is so NOT affordable! I just played off almost $7000.00 in medical bills that were incurred when economy/housing market / jobs crashed all at once and NOW instead of following a plan to stay above by budgeting right with a household of 6 we are seeing $$$ flash like big warning signs! Our insurance went from high deductable (regular physician appt's and meds with copay) to a High Deductable plan (nothing covered period until we pay the 2500.00 deductable period!) + the same copays when it is payed!! I honestly don't see where it will be a help in makeing health care more affordable but more rather a big hurt with our income bracket of 42000-48000?? Add to this I have MS – boy are we in trouble if anything with that kicks in. 🙁

    October 29, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  4. Lizzie

    Question: what is so great about Obamacare, you get Insurance you can afford but the deductible is so high you can't afford it.

    October 29, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  5. #Blamesothers

    When this started back in 2010 people were told they were either going to be considered grandfathered or nongrandfathered. Don't blame others becuase you failed to read the law and hoped it would be over turned. As far as healthcare costing money it costs us whether people have insurance or not.

    October 29, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  6. Jim

    Obama is a liar, we can all agree on that, now in his own statements he's made many times he's a know nothing liar. How disappointing he was given the most amazing opportunity that any man has ever had in the history of our country and by his own choosing he's divided and destroyed. Leading from behind = no leadership. What a joke, a bad one at that.

    October 29, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  7. ham it

    Above Mallory writes, "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?"

    This is what liberalism has come down to – and the biggest problem today. The feeling that EVERYONE is ENTITLED! Entitled to huge salaries, big homes, fancy cars, grand vacations, 3 HD big screens, filet mignon for dinner every night. Obviously Mallory must work for the government because they are the only ones who can "demand" more via higher and higher taxation. If you want more money it is really very simple. Get educated, work hard, and pay your dues while you keep your head down working without complaining. When you work hard and actually contribute to a company you will be rewarded with the higher pay you desire. That’s the way it works now and that’s the way it always has worked. Make yourself VALUABLE. Where was that lost in America? Now it seems that if you are born you think you deserve Bill Gates bank account. Work. Work. Work and work some more and you will get ahead. That is what makes America GREAT! Anyone can do it. ANYONE…..

    October 29, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  8. Malory Archer

    Widget in Texas

    Data Driven & Mallory Archer–
    Quit defending'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.


    In other words, you're speculating! Honestly, YOU should quit embarrassing YOURSELF!

    October 29, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. Malory Archer

    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 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. John Anderson

    After several years in perfectly good standing, Kaiser told us our "non-grandfathered" HMO policy would be cancelled on Dec 31st...and replaced with an ACA plan. That plan costs FAR more than the one it replaces. Fortunately for me, I've now retired and my 2014 income can be just a hare under the 400% of poverty "line in the sand"...and I qualify for the subsidy. With that subsidy, my insurance will now be MUCH cheaper. But exceed that line by just $1...and the price triples.

    October 29, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. John

    I personally support any initative to reduce the cost of health insurance and health care in general. Treating the uninsured is driving up the cost for everyone and forcing hospitals to pass those costs on to insurance companies and their customers. We all need to get behind changing the system.

    October 29, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  12. Rudy NYC


    I was for "affordable care" up untill I realized it is so NOT affordable! I just played off almost $7000.00 in medical bills that were incurred when economy/housing market / jobs crashed all at once and NOW instead of following a plan to stay above by budgeting right with a household of 6 we are seeing $$$ flash like big warning signs! Our insurance went from high deductable (regular physician appt's and meds with copay) to a High Deductable plan (nothing covered period until we pay the 2500.00 deductable period!) + the same copays when it is payed!!
    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.

    October 29, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  13. Lamar

    ACA = Money out of middle class families pockets to support: the poverty level, lower income and its ailing website. Sucks to be the middle class right now. God Bless America.

    October 29, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. Normal

    Obama's goal is to create one class equivalent to the middle class. When he succeeds, all of us will be poor and dependent on the government. Equality and fairness are not what made this country great. Whether you like it or not, opportunity, competition, and the desire to make a buck created our economy and built this country. Some win and some loose. Unfortunately we Americans have created two or three generations of people who think healthcare is an entitlement instead of teaching personal responsibility. At some point the system of entitlements will fail and there will be a painful automatic correction. I just hope I am long gone when it happens.

    October 29, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  15. ztarbod

    Welcome to the world of insurance mandates and deceitful dishonest politicians. We have had these stupid government health insurance mandates in WA for a long time. The idea of making people who don't need or use a service pay for it anyway is long time democrat strategy. Obamacare needs these millions of people to use the exchanges or the program won't work. If they got to keep their insurance Obamacare would die.

    October 29, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  16. obawendon

    In the real world insurance has been having the trend of higher deductibles for years now. Higher deductibles and a continual climb in the monthly rates, less coverage for items necessary for our health is nothing new. It is just now becoming front page news because of the implementation of ACA. These facts now coming to the surface and into press coverage because they are negative. Nothing is new here, the real devil is the insurance companies. That is where we should be focusing our anger. As Stargazer posted, deductibles are high, but for years now I have been dealing with a $10,500.00 per year deductible. The cost for prescriptions is reasonable except it will not cover name brand medications even if there is no generic, or if your doctor requires you to take the name brand. One of my prescriptions costs me over $400.00 per month and another is about $160.00 per month, and this is on top of $600.00 per month for the plan. My husbands employer requires participation in this plan as a condition of employment, so we have no choice. On the exchange the insurance for both of us would be cheaper with a smaller deductible but we are not able to make the change at this time. Yes, $2500.00 deductible is awful, but that is the most common deductible out there pre ACA.

    October 29, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  17. Thai Ice T Party

    Glaringly 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 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  18. KW

    I was very unhappy to find out that with the "Cadillac Tax" my husband's employer could no longer afford to offer the same health insurance plan we were so happy with. It was affordable, had a zero deductible and had clear cut flat fees for services. We got pregnant with the knowledge that we would pay $500 when the baby came. Now, with ACA, the company had to switch to a health care company I have never heard of. Now, beginning in January, we will have more money taken out of his paycheck for the monthly cost, a high deductible, high co-pays and a vague percentage of our hospital bills, which is impossible to plan for. I need a repeat C-section for medical reasons, but this company is pressuring me to have a vaginal birth to reduce costs and hospital stays, even though it is more dangerous and will likely result in major complications and LONGER hospital stay. Obama said if you like your plan you can keep it. He failed to mention he would make it impossible for companies to afford providing your plan as an option. Shameful.

    October 29, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  19. OBG

    We just need the name of the legislation changed to the Un-affordable Care Act.

    October 29, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  20. rewster

    This is lie #???? 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."?????

    October 29, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  21. Dan5404

    As one Obamacare official put it, "many of these existing policies that people are complaining about losing are not worth the paper they are written on." That's because they often don't cover things like X-Rays, medical tests or childbirth. The people that are foolish enough to risk bankruptcy because these sham policies are relatively cheap can often keep them under a grandfather clause, but that means the medical costs they may not be able to pay are borne by the rest of us.

    October 29, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  22. Nicole

    Please be aware right now it maybe just individual policies that are being terminated but my husband just found out his GROUP policy is not being renewed through BC/BS of Florida this week. I liked my health plan $15.00 copays for wellness 250 ded and 80/20 but now have been priced out of that policy the premium went up 14.5% last year and 11% this year. Before the health care bill it would go up minimumly,I checked with HR dept and it was about 2%-3% any given year, on I will be paying the same amount as the policy I WAS JUST OUTPRICED OF on obamacare AND my ded is now 1500. I would have rather paid 15.00 for my wellness exam.

    October 29, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  23. Catherine

    @Mallory.. I’ve had my individual policy since 2009 and its just been you’ve stated is not true.

    October 29, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  24. PharmGrl

    The electorate is going to be very angry when it finds out that Obama's real definition of "rich" for tax hike purposes is $47,100 single, $94,200 family. Anyone who gets dumped into exchanges above those income levels will get a massive tax hike, which will fund their neighbors subsidy.
    2014 MIDTERMS
    Democrats New, Large, Easily Manipulated Voting Bloc goal of 19 million Happy Subsidy Voters and 16 Million Happy New Medicaid Voters
    Everyone Else Who Was Premium Jacked and Tax Hiked to Pay for It

    October 29, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  25. Catherine

    The truth is that Obama claimed we could all keep our plans if we did not want to change. That turned out be a lie.
    There’s the most important fact of all.

    October 29, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11