This is really news, exactly, because anyone paying attention has known that less choice and higher prices have been on the healthcare docket for awhile now; this is just more of the mounting evidence blowing open one of President Obama’s most well-known and most carelessly delivered guarantees of his signature healthcare overhaul: “If you like your plan, you can keep it.”
It isn’t merely the umbrella of Big Labor that now has cause to complain about that most shallow of promises; individuals assured of their own accord across the country have been getting some unpleasant news in the mail over the past couple of months:
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.
It’s okay, though, ya’ll; the ObamaCare exchanges are here for you! …You know, if you can access them, and once you accept the fact that your new plan is probably going to be somewhere between a little and a lot more expensive. The big excuses here, as ever, are that A) the new plans will include a lot of sweet benefits and more thorough coverage (whether or not people actually want/need it), and that B) some people will be eligible for federal subsidies that will help to offset the higher prices of their new plans (which willfully glosses over both the economic plight of people not eligible for subsidies as well as exactly where it is that all of the fabulous money for these magical subsidies is going to come).
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.
Did President Obama and his circle of most trusted advisers repeatedly make that absurd promise because they just didn’t care what they had to do to get the thing passed, or because they legitimately didn’t know the extent of the damages that would result from the monster they’ve created? I’m not sure which one disturbs me more.