At the end of September, just as the exchanges were about to open for business, HealthPocket created a comparison of the number of individual and family health insurance policies available in each state in 2013 and compared that with the number of policies that would be available in each state’s exchange in 2014. It’s an… Read more about Fewer Plans Available In Exchanges In 2013, But Maybe That’s A Good Thing
Over the last few years, opponents of health care reform have often exaggerated – and sometime outright lied about – the potential negative aspects of the reform law. This has resulted in a public that is often woefully misinformed about what the law does and does not do. But the spin is not limited to just opponents of the law. Sometimes ACA supporters spin things too. This Huffington Post article from a few months ago is a good example. The title, “Aetna seeks to avoid Obamacare rules next year” is designed to play on the general unpopularity (and over-estimation of perceived profits) of insurance companies. When you read a little further, you find that Aetna is reaching out to brokers and insureds to let them know that Aetna will be allowing members to opt for an early renewal in December of this year – if they want to keep their current policy until December 2014.
Why is this being portrayed as a bad thing?
It is indisputable that people who are healthy, buy their own health insurance, won’t qualify for subsidies and prefer high deductible health plans are going to have higher premiums for ACA-compliant plans than they have now. Some of these people don’t mind high deductibles. They don’t consider their policy to be skimpy or junk insurance just because it isn’t ACA compliant. You might have seen headlines about how only a tiny fraction of existing individual health plans meet the requirements that the ACA will impose next year, but that doesn’t mean that the existing plans are junk. If you look closely, you’ll see that when it comes to basic medical benefits, a lot of individual plans offer coverage that is in line with ACA regulations. But benefits like dental and vision coverage for children (required on ACA-compliant plans starting next year) are usually not part of individual coverage (Many plans allow applicants to select add-on dental and vision coverage, but a lot of people find that it’s more cost effective to pay for dental and vision out of pocket rather than paying for dental/vision insurance. Remember, nothing is free. And the more likely you are to use an aspect of your coverage, the higher your premiums will be in order to cover the cost. So coverage for something like dental and vision checkups – which people plan to use – has to be priced accordingly). In many states, maternity coverage is one of the most significant medical benefits missing from a lot of individual plans. But in Colorado we’ve had maternity on all plans for more than two years now.
There are absolutely some bad health insurance plans on the market, with skimpy coverage, limited networks and lots of fine print. But there are also lots of good quality health insurance plans and reputable carriers. And there are plenty of people who are not going to qualify for subsidies next year (roughly half of the people who currently buy individual health insurance). If those people currently have – and are happy with – a high deductible plan that is less expensive than what they would have to pay for an ACA-compliant plan, there’s no reason that they shouldn’t be able to keep their plan as long as possible in 2014. The law requires coverage to be ACA-compliant when a policy renews in 2014. Carriers that are offering early renewals in December are providing good customer service, especially for insureds who […]
CoverColorado announced that there will be no assessment in 2013 on Colorado health insurance carriers. The 2012 assessment was roughly $3.79/month/contract for individual/family insureds.
Anthem Blue Cross of Colorado has also announced that their membership this year was higher than expected this year. They were making up for a shortfall by charging $4.36/month/contract in 2012. Due to the higher enrollment, Anthem BCBS has enough funding to satisfy December without billing subscribers a CoverColorado assessment.
[…] The rep I spoke with at World Insurance said that it wasn’t clear yet which states will be in the November round of notifications, so we aren’t sure when World/American Republic policyholders in Colorado will be officially notified that their carrier is leaving the market. But I confirmed with both World Insurance and Celtic that the change is happening and that the initial stage of it will begin next month. Colorado residents who are currently covered by either World Insurance or American Republic would be wise to begin looking for other health insurance options. […]