WH Circles the Wagons as Americans Receive Insurance Cancellation Letters
Like many other health insurance carriers across the country, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield recently sent letters to thousands of its customers informing them that their insurance coverage was in peril as a result of the implementation of the Obamacare exchanges.
According to The Washington Examiner, the carrier will be forced to cancel health insurance plans that presently cover 76,000 people in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., composing forty percent of CareFirst's 177,000 customers.
President Barack Obama repeatedly told Americans during the health legislation care debate, that if they liked their health care plans, they could keep those same plans, but Americans across the country are finding out otherwise. Pre-existing plans were supposed to be grandfathered in, but the regulations in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were so restrictive, numerous plans ended up being dropped. In a statement to The Examiner, CareFirst wrote:
Of the 177,000 individuals under age 65 who are covered by CareFirst, about 76,000 of them are in a non-grandfathered plan--a plan that will not comply with the guidelines imposed by the Affordable Care Act at their time of renewal this year or next.
These individuals in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and portions of Northern Virginia will be required by the health law to purchase a new ACA-compliant health plan. This phenomenon is not unique to CareFirst and its members, but rather a result of industrywide changes in accordance with new ACA health plan standards.
Although CareFirst clients in Virginia and Maryland can purchase ACA compliant plans through their state exchanges or the individual market, customers who live in Washington, D.C. who receive cancellation letters from CareFirst will be forced to buy a plan on the exchange.
Rep. John Larson (D-CT) called the health insurance cancellations last Wednesday "an awful backhanded way for a company to treat an individual, but that's the law." Larson told Breitbart News:
And that’s their company and with the free enterprise system they get to do what they want. Under single payer, of course, that would not be the case. You would be covered automatically. But that’s not the law. The law is that it’s a free enterprise system and they have the right not to enter into the exchange or not to provide for you in the exchange. That is their right.
Almost 1.5 million Americans have received cancellation letters from their health insurance carriers. Fox News reported that a 2010 IRS document showed the Obama administration knew that millions would lose their health insurance plans as a result of the Affordable Care Act. The White House, however, responded to these reports and an NBC piece in a tweet by White House principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest:
NBC ‘scoop’ cites ‘normal turnover in the indiv insurance market’. That’s a) not new b) not caused by #ACA c) the problem #ACA will solve.
Peppered with questions about the president's promise that Americans would be able to keep their health insurance plans, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Tuesday:
It's true that there are existing health care plans on the individual market that don't meet those minimum standards and therefore do not qualify for the Affordable Care Act," Carney said. "But what is also true is that... Americans who have insurance on the existing individual market will now have numerous options available to them, and six out of 10 will pay less than $100 per month in premiums for better insurance.
Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) plans to propose legislation titled, "If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It Act" this week. The bill would grandfather in currently existing plans into the ACA and repeal various regulations the ACA places on those plans.