The hits just keep on coming. That’s not a reference to some radio DJ who plays the top forty tunes, but to the latest casualty of Obamacare. As was noted in a previous column, tens and some cases hundreds of thousands of policy holders have received cancellation notices because their policies don’t conform to the rules of the Affordable Care Act:
Among the casualties of the law are 300,000 Floridians — about 80% of its individual policies in the state — who were covered by Florida Blue but whose policies were or are in the process of being terminated. Kaiser Permanente in California has likewise sent notices to 160,000 people, which represents about half of the state’s individual business. Highmark in Pittsburgh is dropping about 20% of its individual market customers, while Independence Blue Cross, in Philadelphia, is canceling about 45% of its individual policies.
The newest prospective victims, according to Debra Saunders of the San Francisco Chronicle, are half a million Golden State policy holders:
According to this link as of December 2012, there were 491,977 covered lives in individual health care plans regulated by the state Department Insurance [sic] that are not grandfathered under the Affordable Care Act. (If they bought a plan after March 2010, their coverage is not grandfathered.) This is a 2012 number, but if the number of people with private coverage hasn’t changed much in the last ten months, that’s half a million Californians who will lose their coverage. According to this link (hit the Enrollment Summary Report) from the state office that regulates managed care providers, there were about 50,000 individual and 60,000 PPO policies that were not grandfathered at the end of the year, which would add another 110,000. (Department of Managed Health Care has not returned my call to confirm these number [sic]. In that stories report that Kaiser sent out cancellation notices to 160,000, this number seems low to me.) Either way, you get to 600,000 or more….
California Association of Health Plans president Pat Johnston told me that by law providers must cancel non-grandfathered individual policies. (It is my understanding some folks will lose their coverage at year’s end, others might be able to extend into 2014 through the end of a covered year.) This probably means premiums hikes for people who ‘not only were … healthy, they also probably were very savvy shoppers.’ This is a small corner of the insurance market; others may well save money under the Affordable Care Act. But for the people kicked off their individual California plans, Johnston said, it may well be that ’if you’re outside that subsidy range, you’re on your own.’
In case you’re not sufficiently disgusted by these state-by-state horror stories, Josh Archambault, writing at Avik Roy’s blog, puts the numbers in a more global perspective. His post is titled “More Americans in 3 States Have Had Their Insurance Canceled Under Obamacare Than Have Filed An Exchange Account In All 50.”
What was it that Obama said again and again (and again!) as he was attempting in vain to sell Americans on his health care reform? Oh, yes, it was this: