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  • Obama knew millions could not keep their health insurance

    Obama admin. knew for at least three years millions could not keep their health insurance
    By Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye
    NBC News


    President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.

    Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”

    None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date -- the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example -- the policy would not be grandfathered.

    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.

    Yet President Obama, who had promised in 2009, “if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan,” was still saying in 2012, “If [you] already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.”
    “This says that when they made the promise, they knew half the people in this market outright couldn’t keep what they had and then they wrote the rules so that others couldn’t make it either,” said Robert Laszewski, of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, a consultant who works for health industry firms. Laszewski estimates that 80 percent of those in the individual market will not be able to keep their current policies and will have to buy insurance that meets requirements of the new law, which generally requires a richer package of benefits than most policies today.

    The White House does not dispute that many in the individual market will lose their current coverage, but argues they will be offered better coverage in its place, and that many will get tax subsidies that would offset any increased costs. “One of the main goals of the law is to ensure that people have insurance they can rely on – that doesn’t discriminate or charge more based on pre-existing conditions. The consumers who are getting notices are in plans that do not provide all these protections – but in the vast majority of cases, those same insurers will automatically shift their enrollees to a plan that provides new consumer protections and, for nearly half of individual market enrollees, discounts through premium tax credits,” said White House spokesperson Jessica Santillo.

    Individual insurance plans with low premiums often lack basic benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, or carry high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs. The Affordable Care Act requires all companies to offer more benefits, such as mental health care, and also bars companies from denying coverage for preexisting conditions.

    Today, White House spokesman Jay Carney was asked about the president’s promise that consumers would be able to keep their health care. “What the president said and what everybody said all along is that there are going to be changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act to create minimum standards of coverage, minimum services that every insurance plan has to provide,” Carney said. “So it's true that there are existing healthcare plans on the individual market that don't meet those minimum standards and therefore do not qualify for the Affordable Care Act.”

    Other experts said that most consumers in the individual market will not be able to keep their policies. Nancy Thompson, senior vice president of CBIZ Benefits, which helps companies manage their employee benefits, says numbers in this market are hard to pin down, but that data from states and carriers suggests “anywhere from 50 to 75 percent” of individual policy holders will get cancellation letters. Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, who chairs the health committee of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, says that estimate is “probably about right.” She added that a few states are asking insurance companies to cancel and replace policies, rather than just amend them, to avoid confusion.

    A spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), an insurance trade association, also said the 50 to 75 percent estimate was consistent with the range they are hearing.

    Those getting the cancellation letters are often shocked and unhappy.

    George Schwab, 62, of North Carolina, said he was "perfectly happy" with his plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield, which also insured his wife for a $228 monthly premium. But this past September, he was surprised to receive a letter saying his policy was no longer available. The "comparable" plan the insurance company offered him carried a $1,208 monthly premium and a $5,500 deductible.
    And the best option he’s found on the exchange so far offered a 415 percent jump in premium, to $948 a month.
    "The deductible is less," he said, "But the plan doesn't meet my needs. Its unaffordable."

    "I'm sitting here looking at this, thinking we ought to just pay the fine and just get insurance when we're sick," Schwab added. "Everybody's worried about whether the website works or not, but that's fixable. That's just the tip of the iceberg. This stuff isn't fixable."

    Heather Goldwater, 38, of South Carolina, is raising a new baby while running her own PR firm. She said she received a letter last July from Cigna, her insurance company, that said the company would no longer offer her individual plan, and promised to send a letter by October offering a comparable option. So far, she hasn't received anything.

    "I'm completely overwhelmed with a six-month-old and a business,” said Goldwater. “The last thing I can do is spend hours poring over a website that isn't working, trying to wrap my head around this entire health care overhaul."

    Goldwater said she supports the new law and is grateful for provisions helping folks like her with pre-existing conditions, but she worries she won’t be able to afford the new insurance, which is expected to cost more because it has more benefits. "I'm jealous of people who have really good health insurance," she said. "It's people like me who are stuck in the middle who are going to get screwed."

    Richard Helgren, a Lansing, Mich., retiree, said he was “irate” when he received a letter informing him that his wife Amy's $559 a month health plan was being changed because of the law. The plan the insurer offered raised his deductible from $0 to $2,500, and the company gave him 17 days to decide.

    The higher costs spooked him and his wife, who have painstakingly planned for their retirement years. "Every dollar we didn't plan for erodes our standard of living," Helgren said.

    Ulltimately, though Helgren opted not to shop through the ACA exchanges, he was able to apply for a good plan with a slightly lower premium through an insurance agent.

    He said he never believed President Obama’s promise that people would be able to keep their current plans.
    "I heard him only about a thousand times," he said. "I didn't believe him when he said it though because there was just no way that was going to happen. They wrote the regulations so strictly that none of the old polices can grandfather."

    For months, Laszewski has warned that some consumers will face sticker shock. He recently got his own notice that he and his wife cannot keep their current policy, which he described as one of the best, so-called "Cadillac" plans offered for 2013. Now, he said, the best comparable plan he found for 2014 has a smaller doctor network, larger out-of-pocket costs, and a 66 percent premium increase.
    “Mr. President, I like the coverage I have," Laszweski said. "It is the best health insurance policy you can buy."

    Link
    I'm shocked SHOCKED! to find that lying is going on in here! Seriously, didn't anybody not see this coming?

    I mean, this is the same guy that promised: : “If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, a quarter million dollars a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.” (President Barack Obama, Address Before A Joint Session Of Congress, Washington, DC, 2/24/09)

    Well...except for your insurance premiums. But that's not really a tax. But those Obamacare fines are! The Supreme Court said so ;)
    Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

  • #2
    And QE, QE is a tax on savers.

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    • #3
      What!? Gambling in Casablanca? I'm shocked-shocked I tell you!

      Comment


      • #4
        Obama had to know. Initial ACA statistics don't look very promising either. The young and healthy (the financial ACA base) only constitute ~20% of applicants thus far. Not enough to float the program.
        sigpic

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        • #5
          minskaya,

          initial ACA statistics don't look very promising either. The young and healthy (the financial ACA base) only constitute ~20% of applicants thus far. Not enough to float the program.
          predictable, given the horrible issues with the website. the true test is how many decide to flout the mandate later and pay the fine instead.

          overall, not sure why anyone's surprised by the rate shocks...or the administration oversell, either. as mentioned, the overall thrust of the ACA is to reduce end-user costs (medical care) by increasing initial monies spent on insurance. even more specifically, it is meant to increase the costs to healthy people, especially healthy people whom ignore getting insurance, to cover the most at-risk people.

          it's a mess, of course, because it's the result of massive political compromise. in this case, with the insurance companies.
          There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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          • #6
            These are growing pains. nothing more. It will get better as the system improves.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by astralis View Post
              pay the fine instead
              What is "the fine" for underinsurance in the US? Or rather what will it be?

              Cuz arbitrarily that could vary widely anywhere from an administrative 20 bucks fee up to backpayments on full premiums since enactment (which is the case in some places)...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Blademaster View Post
                These are growing pains. nothing more. It will get better as the system improves.
                Better? Thousands of people who work full time (40 hours a week) on low wages getting their hours cut to 30 hours a week so the companies do not have to pay for Obamacare because they can't afford it, over a million being notified and more that they are being dropped from their own plan and/or have to drop from their plan due to costs tripling or quadrupling, hence cannot afford it, and some Obamacare packages where the deductible is $25,000 does not sound like the system will get better or improve. This is an injustice forced on the American people. Especially those who will have to choose an Obamacare package, but can't afford the monthly payment and will not choose a package so they are fined for not being able to afford it.
                Last edited by erik; 30 Oct 13,, 13:04.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Blademaster View Post
                  These are growing pains. nothing more. It will get better as the system improves.
                  This is highway robbery writ large, as only the government can do it. Nothing more.
                  Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Looking at all of this, and having recently experienced the dirty underbelly of the Us healthcare systems, I have a feeling that the gigantic scam called the US Healthcare system will feed off even more once more and more insured come into the fold.

                    Its very interesting hat in call of this, no one thought of reforming one of the chief sources of the scams, the providers.
                    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" ~ Epicurus

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      antimony,

                      Its very interesting hat in call of this, no one thought of reforming one of the chief sources of the scams, the providers.
                      thus the liberal dream of single-payer.

                      which, incidentally, because of the requirement that hospitals treat emergency-room patients without concern about cost...is what the US -has-, only in its most inefficient and costly form.

                      on a similar note.

                      note that for all the conservative screeches of "socialism!" in the ACA...the republican plan for medicare is to essentially convert it into....the ACA.
                      There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Eric,

                        Like it or not, Obama is viewed is one of the weakest POTUS in history. Only time will tell if he is worst than Jimmy Carter but that is not saying much.

                        Obama went begging to the Chinese for financial help and he jumped at Putin's rescue at Syria's rescue.

                        And he bowed before the Japanese and the Saudis ... that does wonders to Asia and Central Asia.

                        No matter how the Democrats wants to twist things, the fact is that Obama failed before the Canadians ... that will tell you how he failed before the rest of the world.

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                        • #13
                          OoE,

                          It truly is a mess with this president. It especially gets my blood boiling when we have to hear Jay Carney spew crap out of his mouth such as "We're talking about 5% of the country," (in regards to people being dropped from their insurance plans due to Obamacare). Oh only 5%... that is about 14 million people Mr. Carney when Obama said, "If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what". Glad to see you aren't affected by this Obamacare.

                          I don't normally get too involved or emotionally attached to political issues, but this Obamacare has really hit my family and close ones around me and to see all the lies, word twisting, and issues being just brushed aside like it's nothing is just beyond laughable.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
                            Eric,

                            Like it or not, Obama is viewed is one of the weakest POTUS in history. Only time will tell if he is worst than Jimmy Carter but that is not saying much.

                            Obama went begging to the Chinese for financial help and he jumped at Putin's rescue at Syria's rescue.

                            And he bowed before the Japanese and the Saudis ... that does wonders to Asia and Central Asia.

                            No matter how the Democrats wants to twist things, the fact is that Obama failed before the Canadians ... that will tell you how he failed before the rest of the world.
                            that is your view but it is certainly not the view of the majority of Americans. He was overwhelmingly elected with a far larger margin of victory than Bush ever got, albeit not the same as Reagan.

                            All what you said are conjecture not factual and very opinionated.

                            And you are making too much out of the bowing incidents. It was nothing but more than misunderstanding of protocols and at the time of 2009 nobody knew whether the economy was going to be around and as president, he had to do whatever to save the system. Now the system is back on firm ground, he doesn't have to bend his neck at all and he hasn't done so.

                            As for Syria, you are way off the mark like your assessments was off the mark regarding the ground realities. Today, events have proven that it would be a disaster if US intervened on the side of the rebels. Now the chemical weapons are being taken care of, the Syrian mess is not US any longer but Russia's and i think Obama got the better end of the deal. Your strong dislike for Obama is distorting your analysis of Obama's policies and actions
                            Last edited by Blademaster; 30 Oct 13,, 13:32.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Blademaster View Post
                              that is your view but it is certainly not the view of the majority of Americans. He was overwhelmingly elected with a far larger margin of victory than Bush ever got, albeit not the same as Reagan.

                              All what you said are conjecture not factual and very opinionated.
                              Well, just to look on the bright side of things................Nixon won with a landslide......he still left early being rather hated.

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