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.

President obama

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditPin on PinterestShare on TumblrDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

GovernmentHealth CareNews

#ACA#Affordable Care Act#health care#health care insurance#insurance#obamacare#plan#President Obama

  • Michael

    He could have easily have said, “If you like your health insurance plan, and it meets all the new requirements, you can keep it.” For me personally, we just got the new 2014 insurance costs for Blue Cross Blue Shield, everything is up significantly, even higher than what I predicted based on general inflationary trends in health costs. The company I work for is pretty progressive, I used to a be a contributor to their political action committee, and believe me we supported mostly democrats financially. But even my company admitted in the 2014 health care plan brochure that prices were largely going up due to the ACA. My out of pocket maximums have basically doubled. I am not eligible for subsidies for two reasons, my employee provided health insurance meets all ACA requirements, and apparently our family makes too much money (family of 3, and around 90K/year) . The only other major change to my insurance coverage is that sex change hormone therapy is now 100% covered. I’ll admit the ACA is probably great for people who are poor and have pre-existing conditions, and the unemployed under 26, and apparently people who don’t think they should even pay a little for their birth control. But it looks like it will be bad for average middle class people who work. And to be honest I’m fine with that, I’m willing to pay a little more if it gets some poor people into the system, but to be clear, if all this was known up front, the ACA would not have passed. However I think our president would have been re-elected no matter what. Just to be fair, I’m willing to give the ACA a chance, all the promises were based on 10 year estimates, so I will not make my final judgement based on price changes from 2013-2014. I have been pleased however with progressive media not spinning some of this bad news for the administration, so far I’ve heard NBC, NPR and even Jon Stewart pointing out some of these flaws and failed promises…Not to mention your own website, you’ve been pretty up front and honest regarding the ACA, thanks.

    • He could have said that, but by mentioning the “new requirements” it of course would have opened him up to immediate attack from the Right. I’m not defending it of course, I’m just talking about a political reality. They obviously made the calculation that presenting it the way they presented it was the best course of action, and I can’t say I disagree. Witnessing all the “told you so” nonsense right now by people who know nothing about the ACA is proof. But as I’ve stated many times before, I’m not going to defend the indefensible or try to characterize the ACA as something it isn’t. Honestly, the problems they are having are a result of trying to work a health care system into the complex web of private insurance, which was (and still is) the lack of a cohesive system.

      As for my employer insurance plan (Independence Blue Cross), they are maintaining the 75% (employer) / 25% (employee) cost split, and in fact, since I was already on their best plan “A” I will see a 5% reduction in my health plan contribution. However, a few co-pays are going up (marginally). So in essence my employer plan is not changing in any significant way, and while I have no proof, this is likely the case for a majority of people who get their insurance through their employer. I think in most cases the changes are on the margins but not significant. But that could still mean millions or tens of millions who will see more than marginal changes.

      And I agree with you that I would be fine with paying more if it meant tens of millions more Americans getting health care insurance. And that’s why when I hear stories of people who make deep six-figure salaries complaining that their high-deductible plan that cost $400 a month will now cost $800 month, I gotta say, cry me a river! Those types of plans are gambles in the first place. People who make really good salaries who chose $10,000 deductible plans did so on the gamble that they could get past the first few years without a major medical issue. After that (and assuming they saved the deductible in lieu of the increased premium of a low-deductible plan) it would be all gravy.