As the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ‘Obamacare,’ continues to change the world of health care – and politicians and celebrities continue to debate the hugely controversial reform – everyday people are wondering where they fit into the picture.
Those who are uninsured, an estimated 5.3 million eligible in California, have new options through exchanges designed to offer essential health benefits and federal subsidies and through the expansion of the state’s Medi-Cal program. People with preexisting conditions who had previously been denied from plans will be extended coverage. About 180,000 applications have been started on the Covered California marketplace since it opened for enrollment Oct. 1, the agency announced Tuesday.
But it hasn’t been the best week for the president’s signature law, as the troubled federal healthcare.gov site struggles with glitches that caused HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to apologize and an NBC News investigation found that the Obama administration knew millions of people would not be able to keep their health insurance plans.
The president, and by extension other government figures and representatives of the ACA exchanges, have consistently repeated that those who liked their plans could keep them. But the report found that millions of people are getting or will get cancellation letters for their health insurance plans in response to the law’s changes – and the administration knew that for at least three years.
An estimated 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million people who hold individual insurance plans will receive a “cancellation” letter in the next year, sources told the outlet, to fall in line with the new standards, and some of those people losing plans will be offered new ones that come with a “sticker shock” of higher prices.
Policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 are “grandfathered” under the law and can be kept in tact, but the report said that later regulations meant that even some of these plans might have fallen out of the framework by changing any part of the policy (like the co-pay or benefits) since that date.
The administration holds that, even if they lose their plans, people will be offered better coverage because of the ACA and will get tax subsidies to cover costs. Subsidies are available for those living between 138 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level in California.
Coachella Valley residents, has your insurance plan been dropped or changed significantly since the ACA? We’d like to hear from you for a story, the latest in our series on what the law means for you.
Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.