Did HHS estimate that 93 million Americans will lose their insurance plans?

posted at 12:01 pm on October 31, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Ever since NBC reported on Monday that HHS knew that their ObamaCare regulations would force the cancellations of “40 to 67 percent” of all insurance plans in the individual market, the White House and its allies have insisted that only a small percentage of Americans overall would lose their current health insurance plans.  David Axelrod specifically cited the difference between the individual market and employer-based health insurance to argue that “most Americans” will keep their plans, a claim that Politifact laughably rated as “mostly true.” Jay Carney himself drew an explicit contrast to defend the “keep your plan” lie:

So let’s step back.  If you are one of the 80 percent of the American people who receive insurance coverage through your employer or through Medicaid or Medicare or the Veterans Administration, this conversation doesn’t apply to you.  These reports do not apply to you.  If you’re one of the 15 percent of the American people who are uninsured entirely right now, this conversation does not apply to you.  So what we’re talking about here is the 5 percent in the country who currently purchase insurance on the individual market.

And that market has been like the Wild West.  It has been under regulated.  It is the place where Americans have most keenly felt the challenges posed by the insurance system in this country, where, for example, insurers could deny you coverage if you have a preexisting condition, or they could offer you coverage that in its fine print excluded benefits specifically related to your preexisting condition.  So if you have hypertension or you’re a cancer survivor, they could carve out coverage on those specific issues and then give you a plan that would cover you on other things.

They could also, and did, routinely, change your plan or eliminate it altogether, annually.  They could throw you off.  They could jack up your premiums.  They could change your coverage.  And one of the issues that the Affordable Care Act was designed to address was the need to provide greater security to those Americans who had no other option but to seek insurance on the individual market.

So that’s the universe we’re talking about:  5 percent of the population.  And I think it’s important to know that, because in some of the coverage of this issue in the last several days, you would think that you were talking about 75 percent or 80 percent or 60 percent of the American population.  So there’s that.

Except that this conversation actually does apply to all Americans, and not just those on the individual markets, argues Avik Roy at Forbes.  The HHS analysis of the markets and the impact of ObamaCare on plan offerings was not limited to just the individual markets.  When the employer mandate gets enforced for the 2015 enrollment, as many as 93 million Americans may find that their job-provided coverage will go the way of the individual plans this year:

But Carney’s dismissal of the media’s concerns was wrong, on several fronts. Contrary to the reporting of NBC, the administration’s commentary in the Federal Register did not only refer to the individual market, but also the market for employer-sponsored health insurance.

Section 1251 of the Affordable Care Act contains what’s called a “grandfather” provision that, in theory, allows people to keep their existing plans if they like them. But subsequent regulations from the Obama administration interpreted that provision so narrowly as to prevent most plans from gaining this protection.

“The Departments’ mid-range estimate is that 66 percent of small employer plans and 45 percent of large employer plans will relinquish their grandfather status by the end of 2013,” wrote the administration on page 34552. All in all, more than half of employer-sponsored plans will lose their “grandfather status” and get canceled. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 156 million Americans—more than half the population—was covered by employer-sponsored insurance in 2013.

Another 25 million people, according to the CBO, have “nongroup and other” forms of insurance; that is to say, they participate in the market for individually-purchased insurance. In this market, the administration projected that “40 to 67 percent” of individually-purchased plans would lose their Obamacare-sanctioned “grandfather status” and get canceled, solely due to the fact that there is a high turnover of participants and insurance arrangements in this market. (Plans purchased after March 23, 2010 do not benefit from the “grandfather” clause.) The real turnover rate would be higher, because plans can lose their grandfather status for a number of other reasons.

How many people are exposed to these problems? 60 percent of Americans have private-sector health insurance—precisely the number that Jay Carney dismissed. As to the number of people facing cancellations, 51 percent of the employer-based market plus 53.5 percent of the non-group market (the middle of the administration’s range) amounts to 93 million Americans.

That’s not the worst of the issue for Obama and Democrats, either.  The last question asked by Roy is whether employers will bother to make those changes at all.  Employers will face a critical decision point by September 2014 of whether to pay the fine for non-coverage and force their employees into the individual exchanges, or absorb more of the skyrocketing premium costs we’re seeing this month.  They may opt for an in-between solution of private exchanges, but even that will force employees out of their current plans, contra to the Obama promise that Americans can “keep their plans.”

Those decisions and actions will take place just weeks before the midterm elections. Take the headlines and outrage we are seeing now for the impact that ObamaCare has on the individual market and perhaps as many as 12 million Americans, and then multiply it by six as employers make the rational decision to get out of the health-insurance business altogether.  The delay of the employer mandate may end up being the worst decision made by Barack Obama except for the hyperpartisan pursuit of ObamaCare itself.


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All of this spouting of what suckie policies that have been bought and sold ‘out there’ by these talking heads is nothing but just words. Every state has an insurance commissioner that monitors policies, regulates policies and keeps insurance companies from doing just what Ax and pressey Bystander said they have been doing. They could have given the 30 to 40M people without insurance an HSA of 1M each lifetime and spent half what they blew through for that stupid website.

Kissmygrits on October 31, 2013 at 2:38 PM

And that market has been like the Wild West. It has been under regulated.

That is outrageous BS, but typical. The insurance industry has always been among the most heavily regulated, including the health care insurance industry. Nevertheless, in obama’s view it may be “under regulated” because it still had some free market attributes.

GaltBlvnAtty on October 31, 2013 at 2:46 PM

And that market has been like the Wild West.

They do realize that the “Wild West” is largely a Hollywood-constructed myth, right?

CurtZHP on October 31, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Did anyone see the video this morning on Fox, with Avik Roy, saying that you can renew your old insurance before the anniversary date and push your cancellation off into 2014, and keep your insurance for a little while longer?

I don’t know where you can do this, but I also can’t find the video on Fox.

They said if people keep them, they will not be in the same individual market as on healthcare.gov. and may affect prices there.

If you buy your individual insurance on your own, without the healthcare.gov website (because you are not getting a subsidy) I am wondering if those people are not in the same individual pool…Could be the reason they are not advertising widely that you don’t need to go to the healthcare.gov website, you can shop with the insurance providers in your state.

Yes, insurance companies did not have to participate in the healthcare exchange, and may still be offering plans you like, where you pay it all yourself. You need not expose yourself to the healthcare.gov website unless you think you might get a subsidy.

Fleuries on October 31, 2013 at 1:16 PM

I doubt that’s possible, but I’d like to know more. I believe that you cannot sell a policy after January to an individual customer that is not Obamacare compliant, meaning $$$$.

Employers have another year before their particular SHTF.

slickwillie2001 on October 31, 2013 at 2:56 PM

I’d expect another waiver from Obama to push those mandates beyond the midterm, but it will be too late: the individual mandate and policy cancellations will have served as a major wake-up call. Media was caught flat-footed on this story, having accepted every Obama lie at face value without question and having allowed itself the diversion of Republican-bashing over our foolishness in shutting down the government. But they will be alert for what will happen in the employer markets. And so will Americans.

And the more Obama doubles down with more lies, as he is already doing and must do, the PPACA being his only signature achievement in five years and counting, the lower his ratings will fall and the faster he will become a complete lame duck.

Our main job is to keep the pressure on, come together on some of the easier market-based reforms to have at least a framework to put forth to replace this turkey when it finally comes apart, and not cannibalize each other in the process.

Self-proclaimed “Tea Party” Republicans are already mad that some of their favorites may be “primaried” next year, but the fact is they started it and what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. So they must decide whether to unite as a party against the common enemy for the greater good, or pursue a civil war within the party and let the devil take the hindmost.

Adjoran on October 31, 2013 at 3:10 PM

I was just informed yesterday that I can grandfather our current plan for our employees by changing the renewal date to Dec 1st vs Jan 1st this year only and keep the plan (80/20 $1000 deductable and a 5K max out of pocket). HOWEVER, beginning Dec. 2014 our plan will be dropped by BCBS. The plan currently cost the buisness 7200 per yer per employee AFTER the employee kicks in 20% of the premium. The closest we will be able to come to our current plan will be a $3500 deductable with an out of pocket of $12500.This will cost about 50% more. You think the masses are ticked off now? Wait till I tell my employees they are too losing their insurance due to Obama. By the way some of the office women voted for this imbecile and I swim in their tears.

lakeman on October 31, 2013 at 3:11 PM

socialists like Carney probably actually believe this

And that market has been like the Wild West.

they think that ever industrial country is more advanced, they think that this country is backward looking, racist…etc.

and Barry the Wonder Cowboy is gonna lay down some Law…some justice…social justice.

meanwhile mccain et al. are busy counting their money, and seeing what the chamber wants them to do next

the socialists are running the show…the 2K per Peron fine is a buck an hour. most employers will hate to dump their employees onto the exchanges…because, most employers Like their employes. It is a source of pride.

but in the end i think most employers will pull the plug..and

Now, here’s the bad news. What will the docs do? Barry will lay down the law…but if the docs retire, well whacha gonna do, barry?

r keller on October 31, 2013 at 3:18 PM

I doubt that’s possible, but I’d like to know more. I believe that you cannot sell a policy after January to an individual customer that is not Obamacare compliant, meaning $$$$.

Employers have another year before their particular SHTF.

slickwillie2001 on October 31, 2013 at 2:56 PM

This was on Fox News, today. I can’t find it online yet. But, you get your renewal to change your anniversary date somehow, so it is sold in 2013 for next year, and not sold in 2014.

Fleuries on October 31, 2013 at 3:50 PM

“So that’s the universe we’re talking about: 5 percent of the population. ”

U.S. Census estimated 2012 population:
313,914,000

93,000,000 divided into same

29.7%

I know, math is hard.

Tenwheeler on October 31, 2013 at 3:55 PM

I was just informed yesterday that I can grandfather our current plan for our employees by changing the renewal date to Dec 1st vs Jan 1st this year only and keep the plan (80/20 $1000 deductable and a 5K max out of pocket). HOWEVER, beginning Dec. 2014 our plan will be dropped by BCBS. The plan currently cost the buisness 7200 per yer per employee AFTER the employee kicks in 20% of the premium. The closest we will be able to come to our current plan will be a $3500 deductable with an out of pocket of $12500.This will cost about 50% more. You think the masses are ticked off now? Wait till I tell my employees they are too losing their insurance due to Obama. By the way some of the office women voted for this imbecile and I swim in their tears.

lakeman on October 31, 2013 at 3:11 PM

That’s because of the one-year employer delay.

slickwillie2001 on October 31, 2013 at 4:55 PM

It has been under regulated.

And we’re supposed to believe Jay Carney Now badmouthing 50 State Insurance Departments????

RADIOONE on October 31, 2013 at 5:10 PM

And we’re supposed to believe Jay Carney Now badmouthing 50 State Insurance Departments????

RADIOONE on October 31, 2013 at 5:10 PM

His boss(es) don’t care. His job is to open his mouth when asked a question

The M.O. of this group is to say anything, and continue doing whatever they can get away with.

Did HHS estimate that 93 million Americans will lose their insurance plans?

The serious question is: did the authors of the law know this. HHS is a trained poodle for Obama, and Obama certainly did not write the law, either.

I assume the law was written to cause massive cancellations, push a percentage into exchanges, and then use bait and switch to offer single payer, or a transition towards single payer, as a way out

What is being said right now, via executive branch mouthpieces, is filler

entagor on October 31, 2013 at 5:55 PM

Did anyone see the video this morning on Fox, with Avik Roy, saying that you can renew your old insurance before the anniversary date and push your cancellation off into 2014, and keep your insurance for a little while longer?

I don’t know where you can do this, but I also can’t find the video on Fox.

They said if people keep them, they will not be in the same individual market as on healthcare.gov. and may affect prices there.

If you buy your individual insurance on your own, without the healthcare.gov website (because you are not getting a subsidy) I am wondering if those people are not in the same individual pool…Could be the reason they are not advertising widely that you don’t need to go to the healthcare.gov website, you can shop with the insurance providers in your state.

Yes, insurance companies did not have to participate in the healthcare exchange, and may still be offering plans you like, where you pay it all yourself. You need not expose yourself to the healthcare.gov website unless you think you might get a subsidy.

Fleuries on October 31, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Explained further on 6pm Special Report. Called a loophole. Claim is that if your health insurer can reset your anniversary date to December 1st, 2013 on your existing non-Obamacare-compliant plan, to run for a normal one-year term, that you can keep that plan for one year, until December 1st, 2014, at which time you will have to move to an Obamacare-compliant policy.

Very interesting, I’d like to see something more in writing.

slickwillie2001 on October 31, 2013 at 6:33 PM

…smart power!

KOOLAID2 on October 31, 2013 at 9:50 PM

I am in the private market. We started getting letters in the spring about coming changes, and we still don’t now what exactly the plans we are forced into will cost.

So the employers should be able to keep their employees informed in just a few months about the rate hikes and policy changes. The ongoing merry go round of prices hikes and deductible lunacy.

I am hoping that millions and millions will get those special letters that bring such joy into your home.

And then… we repeal.

Because if we don’t fix this, I think we are going to have to just skip it. We have been uninsured before and it simply does not make sense to pay $25,000 a year before any insurance kicks in at all. You still have the cost of medical care to consider. That is just the insurance cost!

petunia on October 31, 2013 at 9:51 PM

A natural disaster is very difficult to summon up as needed. Terrorist attacks, not so much…

bofh on October 31, 2013 at 12:45 PM

According to the Left, President Bush managed to do both.
Not that he benefited from either one.
But, at this point, whatever.

AesopFan on October 31, 2013 at 11:17 PM

At election time … if you like your congressmen you can keep them!

virgo on November 1, 2013 at 1:00 AM

Did some looking on the internet. Don’t know if I read the charts right but here goes.

Of the total U.S. Population only 16% do not have health insurance.
Of that 16% some can’t get insurance.
Of that 16% some just do not want insurance.
Of the 16% about 5% make less than 25,000 a year.
Of that 5% some could get health insurance but choose not to.

How many fall into the last group? Don’t know but there are some.
that’s about 2,000,000 country wide or less then .5% of the population.

Now for the question.

We are going through how much trouble for what percentage of the population? Surely our “TOP” “TOP” people could come up with a more cost effective plan.

jpcpt03 on November 1, 2013 at 1:05 AM

jpcpt03 on November 1, 2013 at 1:05 AM

this was never about helping anyone with insurance
this is about control of the American people.

conservative tarheel on November 1, 2013 at 2:57 AM

This is going to be funny, but sad. What did that scum of the earth lowlife Obama say just a couple of weeks ago. Elections have consequences. I pity the the poor bastards who voted for him. They will get hurt the worse.

tmgrant on November 1, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Not good as only 90 million Americans are working while Bush had 100 million in the workforce.

dthorny on November 1, 2013 at 10:41 PM

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