people who buy health insurance this fall may have to change them - as they may
not comply with President Obama's Health Care law. They along with some small
businesses will have to find replacement plans.
The state officials are worried about the confusion that may abound. The Affordable Care Act is going at a galloping pace even though many Republicans tried to repeal.
The market places or health exchanges will be operational from October and mid segment people can buy their insurance and low income people will be covered under expanded Medicaid - if the state has the option.
The President had promised that: "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan." Once consumers realize they are getting a superior coverage under the new law they won't mind the changes.
Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters released a prepared statement saying: "Beginning in October, individuals and small businesses will be able to shop for insurance in the marketplace, where we are already seeing that increased competition and transparency are leading to a range of options for quality, affordable plans."
About 14 million Americans presently purchase their health policies individually, a number expected to more than double eventually because of the new law's subsidies and one-stop insurance markets. But the transition may not be very smooth.
"The impending changes ... have the potential to cause policyholder confusion," said a recent memo from Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart to insurers. Though a Republican-led state, Iowa is helping to carry out major portions of the health care law.
In Washington state, the changes will affect more than 400,000 people, said Stephanie Marquis, spokeswoman for insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler. Marquis said she expects the premiums for replacement plans to be similar to current ones, but with better coverage.
"Your costs involve more than your premiums," Marquis explained. "It's also what you would have to pay out of pocket if you had actually used your health plan."
"You're going to be forcibly upgraded," said Bob Laszewski, a health care industry consultant. "It's like showing up at the airline counter and being told, 'You have no choice, $300 please. You're getting a first-class ticket, why are you complaining?'"
"If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period," the president reassured the American Medical Association. "No one will take it away, no matter what."
At the time, some saw the promise as too broad, given that health plans are constantly being changed by the employers that sponsor them or by insurers directly.
State insurance spokeswoman Marquis said, "I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing that they are going to be getting a replacement notice, because they going to be able to go out and shop in this marketplace and they'll be getting better coverage."
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, 30th May 2013