Obamacare insurance cancelations roiling Colorado races.
Nearly 22,000 Coloradoans will have their insurance policies canceled beginning in January at least in part due to Obamacare. As you might expect, Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner pounced on the news, tying incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall to the disruption of service.
The 22,000 cancellations represent a surge: The Division of Insurance said last month that insurers reported no cancellations from mid-August to mid-September. The agency’s August report indicated that about 2,100 policies had been marked for closure over the summer, and about 6,100 plans had been canceled prior to that point this year.
The sharp increase from September to October is likely the result of state requirements that consumers get 90-day notice before their plans are canceled. That means, consumers whose policies began in January — a common time to begin health coverage — and face cancellations would have gotten word last month. State rules require that insurers inform consumers with canceled plans that they have the right to buy other available offerings from their insurer and the opportunity to buy plans on the state’s Obamacare exchange, Connect for Health Colorado.
Health plan cancellations in late 2013 exploded into a national controversy that only subsided when President Barack Obama rewrote Obamacare rules to let states and insurers revive canceled health plans and continue them for up to three years.
Colorado was one of those states, but the Rocky Mountain State only agreed to let substandard plans continue through 2015. Ten insurers have agreed to continue their plans through 2015, Salazar noted, but the nearly 200,000 people covered by those insurers face the same cancellation notices next year if they haven’t obtained coverage that meets Obamacare standards by then.
Udall became embroiled in controversy over health insurance cancellations early this year, when emails release suggested his office had pressured state officials to revise downward the number of plans canceled in Colorado. The state Division of Insurance has reported that about 335,000 Coloradans’ plans were marked for cancellation at the beginning of the year, although it’s unclear how many have since obtained other coverage or were able to continue coverage because of the federal rule change.
As many as 500,000 Americans will lose coverage by the first of next year as some insurers pull out of the state exchanges and others cancel plans purchased on the sites. In a close race like the Colorado Senate race, 22,000 voters unhappy with Democrats might tip the contest to the Republican.
The president has done everything he can to push all the bad news about Obamacare past the election. But there are some things that are out of his hands, and it seems clear that, try as he might to keep Obamacare from becoming an issue in the election, voters will once again go to the polls with the ACA on their minds.