Anna Gorman and Julie Appleby
October 20, 2013
Health insurance companies are sending notices of cancellation to hundreds of thousands of people who buy their own coverage, frustrating some consumers who want to keep what they have and forcing others to buy more expensive policies.
Insurers say the cancellations are necessary because the policies fall short of what the Affordable Care Act requires starting Jan. 1. Most are ending policies sold after the law passed in March 2010. At least a few are canceling plans sold to people with pre-existing medical conditions.
By all accounts, new policies to replace the canceled ones offer consumers better coverage, in some cases for comparable cost – especially after the inclusion of federal subsidies for those who qualify. They cover 10 “essential” benefits the law now requires, including prescription drugs, mental health treatment and maternity care, and they generally have lower thresholds for what consumers will have to spend before the plan picks up the full cost of treatment.