DENVER — There are nearly 250,000 Coloradans whose health care policies have been or will be cancelled as a result of the Affordable Care Act, the state’s Dept. of Insurance announced on Wednesday.
Many of the policies are being cancelled because of stipulations under the new law that force insurers to cover certain things that weren’t covered under the old policies; other plans are being cancelled by insurers because they’re no longer cost-effective.
The cancellation letters sent out by the insurers must notify a consumer that the 2013 policy is cancelled, and must also highlight options for new coverage.
“Consumers who have questions about these letters or any questions about their health insurance policy should contact the Division,” said Commissioner of Insurance Marguerite Salazar. “While some plans are being cancelled, Coloradoans have many new options for 2014, due to the strength and competitiveness of our health insurance market.”
SPECIAL SECTION: Your questions answered about the Affordable Care Act
Supporters of “Obamacare” note that, although many policies available on state insurance exchanges or the federal government’s glitch-laden website appear to be more expensive, federal tax credits for many individual and families are likely to lower health care costs for many middle-class Americans.
“I think it’s been a big shock for people getting these letters, but many of them have been able to log on to the exchange and get better plans at a lower cost,” Congresswoman Diana DeGette, D-Denver, told FOX31 Denver Wednesday.
But conservatives used the new numbers to argue that the law is a disaster, comparing the number of cancellation numbers to the number of people who have signed up.
So far, just 3,408 Coloradans have purchased new insurance plans on the exchange; many more, 34,168 Coloradans, have enrolled in Medicaid since the program expanded under the law.
“To have almost a hundred health plan cancellations for every exchange sign up in Colorado under Obamacare is exponentially worse than even the most extreme skeptic could have predicted,” said Kelly Maher, executive director of the group Compass Colorado.
DeGette acknowledged that President Obama’s now infamous campaign promise, that “if you like your existing plan, you can keep it”, was misleading.
“He should have said, ‘If you like your plan you can keep it — subject to the contractual agreement between you and the insurance company’,” DeGette said, acknowledging that such verbiage is a bit complex for a stump speech.
“In truth, most people’s policies, even before the Affordable Care Act, changed from year to year,” she continued. “This is a system that’s based on people getting private insurance; in many ways, it was a Republican idea.”
“If people are having contracts with their insurance plans, those insurance companies are going to adjust those plans based on market conditions,” DeGette said.
Conservative group continues to pile money into anti-Obamacare ads
Meanwhile, the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity’s has now spent over $7.6 million in spending over the last few weeks on anti-Obamacare ads.
The group will spend an additional $1.7 million on ads on radio, TV and the Internet.
“Amid a disastrous and inept rollout, it’s important to remember that some politicians did what they could to stop ObamaCare, while others did whatever it took to shove the law down our throats,” AFP President Tim Phillips said in a statement.
“Heading into 2014, we want to be sure Americans understand the true negative impact of the law. A failing website is just the tip of the iceberg; less choice, higher premiums, and lost coverage will be the legacy of ObamaCare,” Phillips said.
AFP is partially funded by the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers, who have spent many millions of dollars to back conservative causes and candidates.