October 31, 2013 by David K. Sutton
If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It, Unless It No Longer Exists, In Which Case…
If you like your health plan, you can keep it. That is a line often repeated by President Obama and his administration since passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. I think most people knew this was an oversimplification, and you can hardly blame politicians for keeping the word length to a minimum when the public has a greater attention span for Miley Cyrus than they do for more important issues like health care insurance. So yes, this line is not entirely accurate. Below I offer you a better (but still basic) explanation, but if Obama and other administration officials had chosen to explain all the nuance, nobody would have heard it, because they would have changed the channel, flipped over to a new website, or simply fallen asleep. But I trust you won’t do that, right?
Pre-Obamacare, there were many cut-rate insurance plans that didn’t really cover much, and certainly did not offer financial security in the event of serious medical issues. The most these plans had to offer was a false sense of security. The Affordable Care Act allowed for grandfathered health care insurance plans, even including these bargain plans. But the ACA requires a certain level of coverage that many of these plans did not meet. That meant these plans could no longer be sold to new customers. What happens when a company can no longer sell a product to new customers? They likely will phase that product out. That is what is happening right now for these minimal coverage plans.
In place of these craptastic plans are new plans with better coverage but also usually with a higher price tag. Here’s the part Obamacare opponents don’t tell you. There are subsidies to reduce the cost of these health insurance plans that millions of Americans qualify for. If your income is between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, you qualify for some form of subsidy to help offset the increased cost of your new and better plan compared to your old plan.
This is how it’s supposed to work, but I will admit I do not know the end result. For example, do most people in this situation wind up paying about the same for better coverage? The Obama administration will probably tell you that, but I don’t know if it’s true.