16 million may lose their health insurance plans because of Obamacare
This number doesn't include the number of workers who will lose their employer-based insurance coverage. The 16 million figure is from the individual insurance market. This includes some families but mostly the self-employed.
It's also important to note that this is a feature, not a bug, of Obamacare. The ACA was designed to destroy the individual insurance market, largely because health insurance gurus see it as "inefficient."
According to health policy expert Bob Laszewski, roughly 16 million Americans will lose their current plans because of Obamacare:
The U.S. individual health insurance market currently totals about 19 million people. Because the Obama administration's regulations on grandfathering existing plans were so stringent about 85% of those, 16 million, are not grandfathered and must comply with Obamacare at their next renewal. The rules are very complex. For example, if you had an individual plan in March of 2010 when the law was passed and you only increased the deductible from $1,000 to $1,500 in the years since, your plan has lost its grandfather status and it will no longer be available to you when it would have renewed in 2014.
These 16 million people are now receiving letters from their carriers saying they are losing their current coverage and must re-enroll in order to avoid a break in coverage and comply with the new health law's benefit mandates--the vast majority by January 1. Most of these will be seeing some pretty big rate increases.
Kaiser Health News called up a few insurers around the country and found that hundreds of thousands of Americans have already received cancellation notices.
"[T]he cancellation notices, which began arriving in August, have shocked many consumers in light of President Barack Obama's promise that people could keep their plans if they liked them," according to Kaiser Health News reporters Anna Gorman and Julie Appleby.
"Florida Blue, for example, is terminating about 300,000 policies, about 80 percent of its individual policies in the state. Kaiser Permanente in California has sent notices to 160,000 people - about half of its individual business in the state. Insurer Highmark in Pittsburgh is dropping about 20 percent of its individual market customers, while Independence Blue Cross, the major insurer in Philadelphia, is dropping about 45 percent," Kaiser reports. "Blue Shield of California sent roughly 119,000 cancellation notices out in mid-September, about 60 percent of its individual business. About two-thirds of those policyholders will see rate increases in their new policies, said spokesman Steve Shivinsky."
An astonishing fact, as Heritage points out:
Earlier this year, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that in 2014, Obamacare would enroll 7 million people in exchange coverage and 9 million people through Medicaid. (Medicaid's problems with physician access and patient outcomes are so widespread that some beneficiaries don't consider the program "real insurance," but that's a separate story.) The CBO total of 16 million who will gain coverage is exactly equal to the 16 million Robert Laszewski estimates will lose their existing health plans due to Obamacare's new mandates.
But based on the opening weeks of Obamacare's open enrollment period, it's far from certain that the CBO's estimate of 7 million exchange enrollees will be reached. Laszewski estimates that only 20,000 people have actually enrolled in health plans in the 34 states using a federally run exchange. Based on internal Administration estimates obtained by the Associated Press and released earlier this week, enrollment is well behind even its meager projections for the first few weeks of open enrollment. Moreover, the ongoing technical difficulties faced by insurance companies and users alike give little prospect for massive new uptake any time soon.
Given the ongoing exchange chaos, it's entirely likely that Obamacare could result in more people losing their current health insurance next year than obtaining new coverage. Any way you slice it, that's not reform. (my emphasis)
The administration's favorite think tank - Center for American Progress - boasts that "The Affordable Care Act's Lower-Than-Projected Premiums Will Save $190 Billion." What they don't mention is that those lower preiums include double or triple the deductible of their old plans. The bottom line is that consumers are going to spend more out of pocket cash on health care than before.
And that ain't "reform" either.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky