Insurance Cancellations


San Francisco Obama Supporters, Cancelled by Obamacare

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

By Charles Ornstein, ProPublica

San Francisco architect Lee Hammack says he and his wife, JoEllen Brothers, are “cradle Democrats.” They have donated to the liberal group Organizing for America and worked the phone banks a year ago for President Obama’s re-election.

Since 1995, Hammack and Brothers have received their health coverage from Kaiser Permanente, where Brothers worked until 2009 as a dietician and diabetes educator. “We’ve both been in very good health all of our lives – exercise, don’t smoke, drink lightly, healthy weight, no health issues, and so on,” Hammack told me.

The couple — Lee, 60, and JoEllen, 59 — have been paying $550 a month for their health coverage — a plan that offers solid coverage, not one of the skimpy plans Obama has criticized. But recently, Kaiser informed them the plan would be canceled at the end of the year because it did not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The couple would need to find another one. The cost would be around double what they pay now, but the benefits would be worse.

“From all of the sob stories I’ve heard and read, ours is the most extreme,” Lee told me in an email last week. Continue reading

Why Insurance Commissioner Can Delay Only Blue Shield’s Cancellations

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

California’s insurance commissioner Dave Jones announced an agreement with Blue Shield on Tuesday morning that will mean some 113,000 people who had their policies cancelled will now be able to keep them through March 31, 2014.

If you’re one of those 113,000 people, you now have the option either to hold onto your policy into next year or to shop on the Covered California marketplace where you might qualify for a subsidy.

Blue Shield warned that extension is not without risks.

Jones says Blue Shield of California Life & Health agreed to send letters on Wednesday to its policyholders, informing them of the extension. If you’ve received a cancellation notice from another health insurance company, it is highly unlikely you will get an extension, as we detail below.

Blue Shield warned that extension is not without risks. Spokesman Steve Shivinsky says that policyholders who decide to stay with their current plan must still enroll in a new plan that complies with the Affordable Care Act by March 15, 2014. Otherwise, they risk a coverage gap. In addition, if people extend their current policy, they may have to pay a deductible twice in 2014 after they enroll in a new plan. Continue reading

New ACA Fracas: Did the White House Know People Would Face Insurance Cancellations?

President Obama makes remarks during a ceremonial swearing-in of FBI Director James Comey. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Obama makes remarks during a ceremonial swearing-in of FBI Director James Comey. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan.”

That’s been President Obama’s talking point since 2009, before the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010.

But millions of Americans are receiving notices of policies being cancelled, NBC reported on Monday night and — citing four unnamed sources “deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act” — further argued that the administration has known this would happen for the last three years.

From NBC:

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. Continue reading