KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Reports Of Insurance Policy Cancellations Spread

News organizations in California, Georgia, Colorado and Virginia examine the issue.

California Healthline: How Many People Are Losing Their Plans Under Obamacare, Really?
At least half of the 14 million people who shop in the individual insurance market can expect to receive a cancellation letter ahead of next year. A review by "Road to Reform" found that hundreds of thousands of cancellation letters had already been sent in states like Oregon, Florida and Georgia. And about 1 million of consumers affected are in California. One key PR challenge: The cancellation letters are piling up at a much faster rate than Americans are able to sign up for new coverage (Diamond, 11/6).

Georgia Health News: Canceled Policy? It May Be Extendable
Thousands of Georgians are getting notices that their health insurance policies are being terminated because they're not compliant with the Affordable Care Act. The cancellation notices have created an uproar in political circles and in households across the country. Some people are facing higher premiums, and others say they had been led to believe that that their policies could not be canceled under the ACA without their consent. But many Georgia consumers have an option if they are unhappy about losing their current policy: They can renew it before Jan. 1 (Miller, 11/6). 

The San Francisco Chronicle: Clarifying State Settlement With 1 Blue Shield Firm
Blue Shield will let some California policyholders extend their coverage for an additional 90 days -- until March 31 -- under a settlement with the California Department of Insurance announced Tuesday. The settlement applies only to Blue Shield of California Life and Health Insurance Co. -- one of two Blue Shield health insurers in the state. It does not presage a widespread delay in health policy cancellations that are a result of the Affordable Care Act, although several bills in Congress would halt or postpone those terminations (Pender, 11/6).

Fox News: Almost 250,000 Colo. Residents Lose Health Plans Under ObamaCare
Almost 250,000 Colorado residents have or will have their health insurance plans cancelled under Obamacare, the state's Division of Insurance said Wednesday. A spokesman for the agency said in a press release that the plans are being cancelled for numerous reasons, one being that some of the plans do not meet the new requirements for patient care under the Affordable Care Act (11/6).

The Denver Post: Nearly 250,000 Colorado Health Policies Canceled, Many From Obamacare
Insurance companies are canceling health policies for nearly 250,000 Coloradans, many because of Affordable Care Act rules, a tally likely to inflame consumers upset with controversial reforms. The Colorado Division of Insurance said policies for 2013 that do not meet new minimum benefits under Obamacare are being canceled. Other cancellations are the result of business decisions by the insurers as part of normal operations (Booth, 11/6).

The Richmond Times-Dispatch: Some Health Plans For Virginians Being Canceled
While some states let insurance companies amend existing health policies to meet Affordable Care Act standards, Virginia regulators required companies to build new policies from scratch. Either way, the net effect is the same -- thousands of people in Virginia and elsewhere are getting notices that their existing plans will no longer be offered after Jan. 1 or the next time they are up for renewal (Smith, 11/7).

The Washington Post's The Fact Checker: The White House Effort To Blame Insurance Companies For Lost Plans
In defending President Obama's now-discredited pledge that "if you like your health-care plan, you'll be able to keep it," the White House has repeatedly tried to blame insurance companies. White House spokesman Jay Carney's statement above, accusing insurance companies of stripping away benefits, is typical. Columnists supportive of the White House have piled on, arguing that insurance companies should be blamed. … But there's an interesting wrinkle to this story that few appeared to have understood. The main culprit is not whether or not the insurance industry has changed a plan that ran afoul of the administration’s regulations -- but the law's effective date. Let's explain (Kessler, 11/7).

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