by John Hawkins | October 24, 2013 6:51 am
Everyone is talking about Obamacare’s non-functional website, but that’s only a small piece of the havoc it’s wreaking on the American people.
Health plans are sending hundreds of thousands of cancellation letters to people who buy their own coverage, frustrating some consumers who want to keep what they have and forcing others to buy more costly policies. …
An estimated 14 million people purchase their own coverage because they don’t get it through their jobs. Calls to insurers in several states showed that many have sent notices.
Florida Blue, for example, is terminating about 300,000 policies, about 80 percent of its individual policies in the state. Kaiser Permanente in California has sent notices to 160,000 people — about half of its individual business in the state. Insurer Highmark in Pittsburgh is dropping about 20 percent of its individual market customers, while Independence Blue Cross, the major insurer in Philadelphia, is dropping about 45 percent. …
Blue Shield of California sent roughly 119,000 cancellation notices out in mid-September, about 60 percent of its individual business. About two-thirds of those policyholders will see rate increases in their new policies, said spokesman Steve Shivinsky.
…The U.S. individual health insurance market currently totals about 19 million people. Because the Obama administration’s regulations on grandfathering existing plans were so stringent about 85% of those, 16 million, are not grandfathered and must comply with Obamacare at their next renewal. The rules are very complex. For example, if you had an individual plan in March of 2010 when the law was passed and you only increased the deductible from $1,000 to $1,500 in the years since, your plan has lost its grandfather status and it will no longer be available to you when it would have renewed in 2014.
These 16 million people are now receiving letters from their carriers saying they are losing their current coverage and must re-enroll in order to avoid a break in coverage and comply with the new health law’s benefit mandates——the vast majority by January 1. Most of these will be seeing some pretty big rate increases.
If Obamacare worked as intended (which it probably won’t), it would sign up about 7 million people over the next year and many of them would be younger Americans who’d be better off doing something else. Meanwhile, that number will be dwarfed by the number of Americans who will lose their plans, pay higher rates, or be forced to pay a new tax. That means not only is this bill going to be a political disaster for the Democrats in 2014, it means the repeal effort is still alive and well. If there are only a few people benefitting and a lot of Americans being hurt, this law will remain vulnerable.
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