There has been some somewhat warranted righteous indignation against President Obama for his repeated comments that you will be able to keep your insurance if you like it. Obama really pulled a Obi Wan Kenobi on this one. What he said was true from a certain point of view. Plans were grandfathered in when the Affordable Care Act went live. All insurance companies had to do was not materially change the coverage during that time. In the real world, insurance companies materially change their coverage all the time. People don’t even recognize that this happens. They get a lengthy legalese notice from the insurance company and quickly check to see if they owe money and then recycle it.
Another part of the story is that insurance companies are just choosing to not continue certain plans even though they are grandfathered in. There are no statistics that I can find, but I would guess that a majority of the individuals receiving cancellation notices (including myself) fall into this category. Look at it from the insurance company’s perspective. They can either choose to keep a plan which they can no longer sign up new customers or they can drop the plan and force customers to choose a new Obamacare approved plan. Which would you choose if you were an insurance company?
We have to also keep in mind that this is just the individual insurance market we’re talking about here. And while potentially 15 million individuals (including myself) fall into this pool, it’s still only 5% of the entire population. We get inundated with horror stories of people’s rates going way up, but they’re all just anecdotes. Me? Similar coverage from my cancelled plan to my new plan will actually save me money. Without a bigger picture, it’s all just rage over nothing. Not to mention we have no proof that the anecdotes are actually true. One told of an individual whose rates were going way up and he was saying that he’ll just cancel his insurance and wait to get insurance when he gets sick. Um, insurance doesn’t work like that. I certainly hope the reporter told the guy so.
The worst thing is that the information that comes from the insurance companies is basically crap. My notice doesn’t mention any concrete reasons why my individual policy was being cancelled. It does make mention of pediatric dental coverage being necessary under Obamacare, but it doesn’t really say that my current plan doesn’t cover it.
This was really a shoot yourself in the foot moment for Obama. Even though a vast majority of the population is going to be able to keep their insurance, he should have really nuanced his bold claim that you would be able to keep your insurance a lot more than he did. With all the blanks being fired at Obamacare based on complete unreality, he’s gone and given the crazies actual ammunition.