Skip to main content

We're all now quite familiar with the reported claims by hundreds of people that they've received letters from their health insurance company that their plans have been "Cancelled Due to ObamaCare".   We all know that this wasn't supposed to happen, that the President promised it wouldn't happen and even though many of these plans are only cancelled because they're essentially useless due to their exorbitant co-pays and deductibles that argument hasn't yet been entirely convincing.

As I've previously diaried GOP Reps like Marsha Blackburn have gone ballistic arguing that ObamaCare has taken away people's "freedom" to buy the plan they want, even if it's cheap (and defective).

Presidential Loser Mitt Romney was on Meet the Press this weekend haughtily proclaiming that the President Obama's Failure to the Tell The American People the Truth about the ACA is now rotting his Second Term.

However, Talking Points Memo has a story up today that all of us need to see, bookmark and start forwarding to each and every media outlet that continues to claim that the ACA has "Cancelled" anyones Insurance Plan.

Because it hasn't, that is A LIE - Obamacare didn't Cancel their plan.  

Plans that were in place since March of 2010 (prior to the Affordable Care Act)  were "Grandfathered" and excluded from many of the laws requirements so that they wouldn't be cancelled. ObamaCare doesn't FORCE those plans to remain, but it doesn't FORCE them to be cancelled either. TPM reports now that the Insurance Companies themselves have deliberately sent out these cancellation notices, along with automatic renewals into higher rate plans before Oct 1st as a means of preventing people from Shopping on the Exchange and finding better, cheaper plans.

In short, this is all an Insurance Industry Scam to gouge their customers, blame Obamacare for it, and prevent them from taking advantage of improved coverage and savings that the ACA actually provides.

And so far, you have to admit, this Scam has worked beautifully.  The White House has been rocked back on their heels not just by the rollout problems of (which is now actually working), but also by these Scammy "Cancellation Letters".

But now the charlatans behind the curtain are finally being revealed.

Donna received the letter canceling her insurance plan on Sept. 16. Her insurance company, LifeWise of Washington, told her that they'd identified a new plan for her. If she did nothing, she'd be covered. A 56-year-old Seattle resident with a 57-year-old husband and 15-year-old daughter, Donna had been looking forward to the savings that the Affordable Care Act had to offer.

But that's not what she found. Instead, she'd be paying an additional $300 a month for coverage. The letter made no mention of the health insurance marketplace that would soon open in Washington, where she could shop for competitive plans, and only an oblique reference to financial help that she might qualify for, if she made the effort to call and find out. Otherwise, she'd be automatically rolled over to a new plan -- and, as the letter said, "If you're happy with this plan, do nothing."

If Donna had done nothing, she would have ended up spending about $1,000 more a month for insurance than she will now that she went to the marketplace, picked the best plan for her family and accessed tax credits at the heart of the health care reform law.

"The info that we were sent by LifeWise was totally bogus. Why the heck did they try to screw us?" Donna said. "People who are afraid of the ACA should be much more afraid of the insurance companies who will exploit their fear and end up overcharging them."

Donna is not alone.

No, she's not alone.  It's not clear how widespread this practice has been, but some State insurance commissioners are starting to notice.

In Kentucky, Insurance Provider Humana was fined $65,000 for sending out misleading letters.

The Kentucky Department of Insurance has fined Humana $65,430 because it offered policyholders an unapproved opportunity to amend their insurance as part of a letter that regulators have called “misleading.”

The department investigated letters sent in August to 6,543 individual plan policyholders in Kentucky. The letters said they needed to renew their plans for 2014 within 30 days or choose a more expensive option that complies with the Affordable Care Act.

But regulators last month called the letters misleading, arguing they did not make sufficiently clear that policyholders could compare and choose competing plans on the state’s health insurance exchanges, which open on Oct. 1, and for which they could be eligible for federal subsidies.

Let's follow this logically, if the letters were sent in August and required a response within 30 days - it essentially forced the policy holders to choose the worse possible option before the Oct 1st launch of their State Exchange.

That is a classic "High Pressure" sales tactic. "Buy NOW or you'll miss out. SALE ENDING SOON" - when in fact, there was no legitimate reason to push people make a decision in that 30 day window other than to prevent them from shopping on the Exchange.

Read the Human Letter.

2,200 people actually did respond within that 30 period, but Kentucy regulators after finding they had been deceived by Humana released them from that agreement and allowed them to go ahead and shop for a better plan on the marketplace.  Then they fined Humana for their attempted Scam.

[Kentucky Insurance Commissioner Sharon] Clark gave the example of a single mother with children who was urged to sign up for a Humana plan with a monthly premium of $719.86. That price is higher than any comparable plan for sale on the state's insurance marketplace, Clark said -- not to mention that the mother might have qualified for tax subsidies to help pay for it if she went through the marketplace, as Donna did.
So the next time you hear or read about how ObamaCare has caused someone to lose their inexpensive plan only to be forced to choose a much more expensive one.  Don't Believe It.

As  Adm. Akbar would say: It's. A. Trap!


8:42 AM PT: To be fair, as VcLib pointed out in the comments not every plan was automatically Grandfathered.  There were these restrictions via

All health plans must:

.End lifetime limits on coverage

.End arbitrary cancellations of health coverage

.Cover adult children up to age 26

.Provide a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC), a short, easy-to-understand summary of what a plan covers and costs

.Hold insurance companies accountable to spend your premiums on health care, not administrative costs and bonuses

Grandfathered plans DON'T have to:

.Cover preventive care for free

.Guarantee your right to appeal

.Protect your choice of doctors and access to emergency care

.Be held accountable through Rate Review for excessive premium increases

In addition to the above, grandfathered individual health insurance plans (the kind you buy yourself, not the kind you get from an employer) don't have to:

.End yearly limits on coverage

.Cover you if you have a pre-existing health condition

So if you had a plan that had a lifetime cap, didn't cover your children until they were 26, could be arbitrarily cancelled and didn't spend 80-85% of your premiums on your care - that plan would have to be updated or replaced.  If you had a plan like that, and for some reason liked it then you were always going to have to make an adjustment to a plan that doesn't suck anymore.  The question is, would you be able to shop for the best possible option or would you stay with the options given by your current provider? These letters show that some providers tried to corral their clients into staying and accepting a much higher rate - blaming the ACA for it - and therefore scaring them away from the Exchange Marketplace.

We've been hearing that the reason these plans were more expensive is because they had to cover preventive care (Limbaugh had a field-day with that one last week), but as shown above the Grandfathered Plans Didn't.

It's a scam, it's all a scam.

10:13 AM PT: One more issue on Grandfathered Plans via the Comments

Plans could acquire grandfathered status by adding those features to the existing ones, they did not have to already have them in place.  Some of the elements, like the "no lifetime cap" one, were phased in over time, and therefore explicitly allowed adjustment of benefits in an existing plan.  Coverage of children under 26 is not likely to be a feature that many plans had in early 2010, yet clearly insurance plans have added this feature.  My current coverage has grandfathered status.  It had some of these features, like no lifetime cap, other benefits have been added or modified to comply with the grandfathering requirements.
So, you got that?  Grandfathered Plans are not written in unbendable, unbreakable Adamantium, they can and have been amended since 2010.   They don't have to meet all the requirements of the ACA, just a few of them and have to have existed since before the law was passed and signed - That's All.

So let's go back and revisit "If you like your plan, you can keep it" as being flawed or wrong.  It's NOT.  Instead of amending the plans to meet minimum grandfather requirements they are being Shutdown By the Insurance Industries Choice, not by ObamaCare.

1:34 PM PT: One final point that puts the LIE to the claim that these plans couldn't meet the Grandfathered requirements is the fact that There's Nothing New Required of Grandfathered Plans This Year.

The Lifting of the Lifetime Spending Cap has been phased in since 2010.

 The law restricts and phases out the annual dollar limits that all job-related plans, and individual health insurance plans issued after March 23, 2010, can put on most covered health benefits. Specifically, the law says that none of these plans can set an annual dollar limit lower than:

        $750,000: for a plan year or policy year starting on or after September 23, 2010 but before September 23, 2011.

        $1.25 million: for a plan year or policy year starting on or after September 23, 2011 but before September 23, 2012.

        $2 million: for a plan year or policy year starting on or after September 23, 2012 but before January 1, 2014.
 No annual dollar limits are allowed on most covered benefits beginning January 1, 2014.
It's not like the ACA suddenly requires old insurance plans to do something this year, that they weren't essentially required to do last year - other than PAY peoples claims.

Similarly the ability to keep your children on your family plan isn't new, that was established in 2010.

ffective for Plan or Policy Years Beginning On or After September 23, 2010. Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called on leading insurance companies to begin covering young adults voluntarily before the implementation date required by the Affordable Care Act (which is plan or policy years beginning on or after September 23rd). Early implementation would avoid gaps in coverage for new college graduates and other young adults and save on insurance company administrative costs of dis-enrolling and re-enrolling them between May 2010 and September 23, 2010. Over 65 companies have responded to this call saying they will voluntarily continue coverage for young adults who graduate or age off their parents' insurance before the implementation deadline.
Lastly the requirement to spend at least 80% of your premiums on care and not administrative costs has already been in effect, that's why people have been getting rebate checks.
A new provision of the Affordable Care Act — called the Medical Loss Ratio, or the “80/20″ provision — could mean some Americans will see a rebate from their health insurance companies tomorrow.

The provision is aimed at holding health insurance companies accountable for how they spend the money collected through premiums. It compares the dollars they spend on health care costs vs. other overhead costs — like marketing, salaries and administrative expenses.

Grandfathered plans don't have to cover pre-existing conditions.  Grandfathered plans don't have to provide free preventive care services. (High Co-Pays and Deductibles can remain)  Grandfathered plans can still limit yearly coverage (in the individual market).

In short, there is no New Special Expensive OBAMACARE Requirement on existing Grandfathered plans other the fact that the lifetime cap has gone from $2 Million to Infinite and they can't arbitrarily CANCEL your insurance between renewal periods. They can only do it at the end of you plan year, which is exactly what they're doing - simply because they can, not because Obamacare put some onerous expensive requirement on them.

Just about everything they were required by the ACA to do this year, they had to do LAST YEAR, and the year before that.  Even more than when I first wrote this diary now believe these "ObamaCare Cancellations" are a SCAM.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (165+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CenPhx, glynis, otto, fcvaguy, Dartagnan, Horace Boothroyd III, Betty Pinson, leeleedee, nicteis, kingneil, Gowrie Gal, poleshifter, badscience, imchange, mrsgoo, geordie, hnichols, JML9999, weneedahero, Mortifyd, VPofKarma, biggiefries, notrouble, theKgirls, SteelerGrrl, boadicea, sethtriggs, a2nite, Radical Moderate, cassandracarolina, eeff, marina, jan4insight, PsychoSavannah, blueyedace2, TXdem, GeorgeXVIII, Joe Bob, tin woodswoman, kerflooey, RASalvatore, TX Unmuzzled, wader, middleagedhousewife, Dodgerdog1, myboo, Steve Masover, poco, Onomastic, 88kathy, elwior, Yasuragi, m00finsan, highacidity, Uncle Cosmo, roses, radarlady, sunbro, Trendar, guyeda, dragonlady, Kristina40, LynChi, MKinTN, Mnemosyne, camlbacker, Loudoun County Dem, sow hat, Dirk McQuigley, wildweasels, NoMoreLies, JDWolverton, Arahahex, IL clb, gramofsam1, second gen, SaintC, MaryIllinois, Sylv, Shadowmage36, wheresjim, tofumagoo, paradise50, smileycreek, kharma, Themistoclea, MartyM, Hammerhand, Sean Robertson, spooks51, prettygirlxoxoxo, bythesea, kareylou, sdf, Involuntary Exile, greycat, pamelabrown, Siri, wasatch, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, ItsSimpleSimon, forgore, smartdemmg, Diogenes2008, eru, sostos, USHomeopath, amsterdam, Will in Chicago, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, BlueOak, Bluesee, Brecht, johnosahon, slowbutsure, vcmvo2, jfromga, western star, Aquarius40, legendmn, oceanview, shesaid, Geenius at Wrok, solesse413, yet another liberal, BarackStarObama, ColoTim, Matilda, ANY THING TOO ADD, doroma, kjoftherock, Copp, Assaf, allergywoman, petral, smokeymonkey, chantedor, SixSixSix, vivadissent, exMnLiberal, Matt Z, Angie in WA State, Lusty, serendipityisabitch, bobbygoode, splashy, skybluewater, pointilleux, devis1, txvoodoo, Larsstephens, Hummingbird, ladypockt, owlbear1, aitchdee, RustyBrown, elginblt, achamblee, Gentle Giant, RightHeaded, TN yellow dog, Amiante, mijita, IdaMena2, shirah
  •  What's the phrase the Libertarians use? (40+ / 0-)

    Benevolent self interest, or something?

    The corporations doing their damndest to rip you off will some how result in you getting a better life with more freedom.  



    by otto on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 07:46:50 AM PST

  •  There seems to be no limit (28+ / 0-)

    to what some of the opponents of the ACA are willing to go to. Certainly discouraging, but we need to continue to fight.

  •  and how about United Healthcare (13+ / 0-)

    canceling the policy of the woman who has cancer?

    From ThinkProgress:

    The company, which only had 8,000 individual policy holders in California out of the two million who participate in the market, announced (along with a second insurer, Aetna) that it would be pulling out of the individual market in May. The company could not compete with Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California and Kaiser Permanente, who control more than 80 percent of the individual market. “Over the years, it has become more difficult to administer these plans in a cost-effective way for our members,” UnitedHealth spokeswoman Cheryl Randolph explained. “We will continue to keep a major presence in California, focusing instead on large and small employers.”  
    •  She'll be better off with an ACA network plan (20+ / 0-)

      United Health Care has been notorious for cancellations and other abuses to cancer patients.  They've been the worst purveyors of "junk" insurance plans for at least a decade now.  Their business model seeks too much profit at the expense of those needing cancer treatment.  If we hang tough and protect and expand ACA, companies like United Healthcare will become a thing of the past.

      Thanks to ACA, this woman will be able to switch to a better plan that won't discriminate against her because of her pre-existing condition.

      If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

      by Betty Pinson on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 07:56:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        She'll be much better off even if she has to pay more money. Switching doctors mid way through a cancer diagnosis is not that difficult and she needs to understand that her whining is inconsequential to the millions of Americans that will now have health insurance.

        Look, I tried to be reasonable...

        by campionrules on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 08:00:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  she never did say (6+ / 0-)

          how much she was paying for that insurance or what kind of increases she's seen.  Since they had a very small number of policy holders I'd wager they've been substantial especially if they were high cost like her.  

          Her main issue was keeping her same doctors.  She could keep her cancer doctors but not her primary doctors unless she paid out of network costs.  I just wonder if her out of pocket costs may end up being smaller in the long run if she'd pay out of network?  We really need to see the specifics to make comparisons.  Something that isn't provided.

        •  Her "whining" is NOT inconsequential! (14+ / 0-)

          Anyone with a serious cancer issue has every right and reason to be severely stressed by this. The woman in that article was going to a particular hospital for treatment, and now she can't.

          She lives in San Diego, but the hospital was far away.

          She is fighting the good fight against cancer, and she SHOULD NOT be in this position!

          United Health Care and every other damned insurance company SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED to drop coverage on people they have who are sick and currently in treatment!!!!!!!!

          That's the outrage.

          My heart goes out to this woman, sorry. It really does. She doesn't need this crap right now in her life.

          My heart also goes out to the person who was dying every 12 minutes in this country due to lack of proper, basic health care!

          •  We all need to make a concerted effort (18+ / 0-)

            to turn the anger at the appropriate group - insurance companies.

            When Obama said you can keep your insurance, he was right.  So many people forget parts of this law have been in effect for 3 years.  Grandfathered plans, sleazy letters from insurance companies, a byzantine system that few "regular folks" can follow or understand.....all set up by companies who would sell their own mother for a dollar.

            Get the anger pointed at THEM.  Remind them that the democrats removed some of the more egregious writers of that law from office BECAUSE they licked the asses of these disgusting profiteers off of misery.  And remind the dems still standing that they better have some fixes ready to campaign with.

            But our job, right now, is to do exactly what Vyan did here:  show the insurance jackals for who they really are.  And remind your fellow Americans that you will eventually  get screwed in the for-profit system.

            Listening to the NRA on school safety is like listening to the tobacco companies on cigarette safety. (h/t nightsweat)

            by PsychoSavannah on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 08:40:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  But she can get better insurance now (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior, elginblt

            Every diary on Dkos has been telling me that these cancellations don't really matter. People are either too stupid to know what they were paying for or they shouldn't complain because what they get from exchanges will be better and cheaper - if you have subsidies, which most people are getting. If you don't get subsidies then you can clearly afford any small hike in your costs.

            So why is she complaining? Because she'll have higher out of network costs? She can't be denied coverage anymore thanks to the ACA. Will she lose access to her Doctors? Looks like it, but again, that's the insurance companies fault.

            After all, that's what the ACA created with the Exchanges. Better and cheaper insurance that we get to buy from the insurance companies.

            Look, I tried to be reasonable...

            by campionrules on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 08:40:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  United Healthcare, according to the article, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Betty Pinson, Calamity Jean, elginblt

            did not just drop her coverage, they are pulling out of Cali altogether.

            That, apparently was going to happen whether or not the ACA was in place. They can't compete there.

            I'd like to start a new meme: "No means no" is a misnomer. It should be "Only 'Yes' means yes." Just because someone doesn't say "No" doesn't mean they've given consent. If she didn't say "Yes", there is no consent.

            by second gen on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 01:20:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  No, again this was an employer decision (8+ / 0-)

      Unitedhealth canceled her policy because they can't compete of the exchanges. This had nothing to do with the ACA.

      Afterall, a small piece of legislation like the ACA wouldn't have a major impact on an industry like the health insurance industry.

      Regulations really don't affect companies business decisions at all you know. Especially regulations like those in the ACA that would only have a minimal impact on the industry they were regulating.

      The message here is simple: Insurance companies are scamming people, are dishonest and may likely be trying to make money off your sickness.

      It's a damn good thing we don't have major, expansive legislation that forces us to buy products from these scumbags.  A damn good thing.

      Look, I tried to be reasonable...

      by campionrules on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 07:57:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  WSJ (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, Betty Pinson

      She wrote in the Wall Street Journal that if she goes through the exchange (Calif) she will be unable to see all of her doctors as they are out of network.  She says private plans will cost 40% more.

      Morning Joe was having a field day with this story today.  Ugh

      •  this is what she said (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vcmvo2, Tonedevil
        So if I go with a health-exchange plan, I must choose between Stanford and UCSD. Stanford has kept me alive—but UCSD has provided emergency and local treatment support during wretched periods of this disease, and it is where my primary-care doctors are.
        She'd be able to keep her Stanford cancer doctors or her UCSD primary care doctors.

        But I also have to wonder why UCSD has only agreed to accept one plan with limited networks?

        •  She can go with UCSD oncology care (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VPofKarma, merrywidow, glynis, elginblt

          and have her treatment plan reviewed by her Stanford docs as a second opinion.

          Generally, once you've started cancer treatment, your oncology team has already developed a long term treatment plan.  Her treatment plan has been developed by Stanford docs, so all that's necessary is for UCSD oncologists to keep following it.   If there's a complication or other problem, she can get the Stanford docs to review and make suggestions.   Oncologists do this kind of thing routinely.  

          Cancer patients have had to face these kinds of decisions long before ACA was enacted.  Patients with Stage 4 disease often consult with different oncologists in order to access clinical trials, etc.  Docs have learned to work with this system in a collaborative way.

          If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

          by Betty Pinson on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 11:52:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have no doubt she could (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Calamity Jean, elginblt

            continue to get excellent cancer care that way.  Her whole issue is that she is upset she has to change.  I can understand her fear too.  

            If United would have pulled out prior to the ACA she would have been screwed even worse because nobody would have insured her.  And we all know that happened too.  The right never gave a damn about them then.  But now they'll hype every story like this.

            •  She has to realize United Health (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Hummingbird, elginblt

              would have tried to either dump her or jack up her rates anyway, with or without ACA.  That's how they roll.

              If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

              by Betty Pinson on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 06:52:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  and really (8+ / 0-)

        Morning Joke never bothered being outraged about all the cancer patients who lost their coverage and their ability to get any other coverage before.  Nor was he apparently outraged that cancer patients couldn't start their clinical trials when the GOP shut down the govt.  

    •  United is pulling out of California (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      So she's better off with what can find for her.

      Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?

      by Hummingbird on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 09:11:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Besides it's only a couple million people (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Victor Ward

    They just need to suck it up and deal with it. The greater good of health insurance in this country outweighs the whining of a few million citizens.

    Besides they are going to get better coverage. It may be more expensive and they might not be able to see their same doctor but that is a small price to pay for more comprehensive coverage.

    As we know, more comprehensive coverages leads to better medical care, healthier people and lower medical costs.

    People need to pay their fair share and help balance out the needs of others in this country.

    Look, I tried to be reasonable...

    by campionrules on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 07:52:46 AM PST

  •  All of which may be true, but... (7+ / 0-)

    Obama was a fool to keep saying

    "If you like your insurance, you get to keep it."
    Because it simply was and is not true, taken at face value, given that insurers are constantly canceling and changing their plans (I should know since I've worked in product development for a major regional insurer and it was my job to implement plan changes in software).

    And in politics, EVERYTHING is face value, because it's all that the other side and media play up, and all that the public remembers.

    He should have instead said something more like

    The ACA means that you either get to keep your insurance, or get an even better plan. Your insurance will not get worse, and will likely be even better than it is now. And it'll probably be more affordable.
    Not as catchy, but technically more true. Note that I'm not complaining about the underlying reality of the ACA here (although certainly there's much to legitimately complain about it), or even about how it's been rolled out, but about how they've talked about it. Sorry, Obama, no chill--you DON'T got this.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 07:58:08 AM PST

    •  Obama Didn't Lie (30+ / 0-)

      the Insurance Companies are Lying.  ObamaCare doesn't force them to cancel these plans, as I said before existing plans that are outside the Exchange were "Grandfathered" so that they didn't have to change.  That's what Obama was saying and that's true.

      If you are covered by a plan that existed March 23, 2010, your plan may be "grandfathered." You may not get some rights and protections that other plans offer.

      Grandfathered plans
      Grandfathered plans are those that were in existence on March 23, 2010 and have stayed basically the same. But job-based grandfathered plans can enroll people after that date and still maintain their grandfathered status. In other words, even if you joined a job-based grandfathered plan after March 23, 2010, the plan may still be grandfathered. The status depends on when the plan was created, not when you joined it.

      It is a LIE that these plans had to be cancelled to comply with the ACA.  They didn't. THEY WERE EXEMPT.  The ACA didn't create this situation, the Insurance Companies DID in order to gouge their customers into a more expensive plans and keep them out of the marketplace.

      What Obama might have said, is that the ACA doesn't force you to change your plan, and IT doesn't - however, your Insurance Company might try to change your plan on their own.  He had no way of knowing that they would attempt to pull this bait and switch trick on people and then blame the ACA for it. No one knew that was coming.

      •  Vyan - for a plan to be grandfathered it HAD to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annecros, guyeda

        have at least these three features.

        No lifetime cap on benefits
        Children had to be covered to age 26
        No rescission options for the insurance company

        Few pre-ACA individual policies included these elements so very few existing policies were grandfathered. The notion that any healthcare policy that was in place before the ACA was passed could be grandfathered, and offered indefinitely, is not correct.

        Here is a good article about grandfathered plans, although the focus is on group rather than individual plans.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 08:32:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, i know... (5+ / 0-)

          I provided a link in the diary that says this.

          All health plans must:
          .End lifetime limits on coverage
          .End arbitrary cancellations of health coverage
          .Cover adult children up to age 26
          .Provide a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC), a short, easy-to-understand summary of what a plan covers and costs
          .Hold insurance companies accountable to spend your premiums on health care, not administrative costs and bonuses

          Grandfathered plans DON'T have to:
          .Cover preventive care for free
          .Guarantee your right to appeal
          .Protect your choice of doctors and access to emergency care
          .Be held accountable through Rate Review for excessive premium increases

          In addition to the above, grandfathered individual health insurance plans (the kind you buy yourself, not the kind you get from an employer) don't have to:

          .End yearly limits on coverage
          .Cover you if you have a pre-existing health condition

          So yeah, if you had a plan that included a life-time cap,  could be arbitrarily cancelled, didn't cover your children up to 26 and spent less than 80-85% of your premiums on your care - that plan wasn't Grandfathered.
          •  Vyan - and the overwhelming majority, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            annecros, nextstep

            and probably nearly all, Pre-ACA individual plans didn't have those required elements. So the notion that plans could routinely qualify for grandfathered status was false. And that meant that most individual plan holders were going to have to buy a plan that had the 10 required ACA minimum features and be more expensive. Don't you think the President had an obligation to tell the public that in 2010, rather than if you like your plan you can keep it?

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 09:06:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not really. (5+ / 0-)

              I don't really know what the percentages are on those plans that don't meet the Grandfathering requirements - and I don't think Obama knew that either.  It's not common knowledge.

              Just checking on it now I find there was a Kaiser Foundation Study via Wapo that showed that in 2011 the Majority of Workers in the Individual Market were in Grandfathered Plans (56%) which could have continued even after 2013.

              That proportion has declined to 36%, but not because the plans fail to meet the Grandfather exception, it's because the Insurance Industry has begun phasing those plans out since they aren't going to be allowed to since up anyone new to them.

              Some of these plans have stuck around for a little bit. The health law allowed plans that existed back in March 2010, when it became a law, to keep selling coverage. These are known as "grandfathered plans:" They don't meet the health law's requirements, but as long as they don't change much, insurers can keep offering them.


              These cancellations are, essentially, a lot of grandfathered plans exiting the insurance marketplace. From an insurance company's vantage point, grandfathered plans are a bit of a dead end: They can't enroll new subscribers and are really constrained in their ability to tweak the benefit package or cost-sharing structure. There's not a whole lot of business sense, for a managed care company, in maintaining a health plan that doesn't meet the health law's new requirements.

              This is the Insurance Companies Choice not something that ObamaCare forced on them.  They could keep them going if they wanted to, the law specifically allows them to, they just Won't.


        •  The KHN FAQ you cite states (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gramofsam1, Vyan, elginblt

          "Most health insurance plans that existed on March 23, 2010 are eligible for grandfathered status and therefore do not have to meet all the requirements of the health care law."

          I believe you are mistaken about how a plan achieved grandfathered status.  Plans could acquire grandfathered status by adding those features to the existing ones, they did not have to already have them in place.  Some of the elements, like the "no lifetime cap" one, were phased in over time, and therefore explicitly allowed adjustment of benefits in an existing plan.  Coverage of children under 26 is not likely to be a feature that many plans had in early 2010, yet clearly insurance plans have added this feature.  My current coverage has grandfathered status.  It had some of these features, like no lifetime cap, other benefits have been added or modified to comply with the grandfathering requirements.

          •  Right (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            guyeda, Tonedevil, vcmvo2, elginblt

            the plan itself had to exist before 2010, but that doesn't mean it has to be the exact same plan from 2010.  Features can be added to existing plans to meet the Grandfather requirements only.

            •  But why would any company offer those plans (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              annecros, nextstep

              with very expensive features added at the same price? If the features have to be changed to be grandfathered, and the becomes more expensive in the process, then it really isn't the same plan and does not meet the President's promise.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:45:18 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  They DID do that though (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tonedevil, vcmvo2, elginblt

                they have already updated the plans to include covering kids up to 26, which they can do each and every year.  And they didn't have to do it at the same price, each year the price could be changed too while the essential plan would remain largely the same only with a few more requirements.  I think you're trying to create an absolute where one doesn't exist.  The plans are not written in stone, they can be adjusted to meet the requirements.

                And think about what those requirements are:

                .End lifetime limits on coverage
                .End arbitrary cancellations of health coverage
                .Cover adult children up to age 26
                .Provide a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC), a short, easy-to-understand summary of what a plan covers and costs
                .Hold insurance companies accountable to spend your premiums on health care, not administrative costs and bonuses

                Ending the lifetime limit is expensive?  (Well, it could be if you had a catastrophic illness, but then that's what Insurance is FOR isn't it?)  Covering young adults, who probably won't even use coverage is expensive?  Creating a Simple Plan Summary is expensive?  Actually putting 80% of your premiums toward care is expensive?

                It's not.

                The truly expensive stuff, like the preventive care and the pre-existing conditions doesn't apply the Grandfathered Plans - so where's the BEEF here?

                I think the WaPo articule I previously posted is right, the Insurance Industry knows that these plans are going to become vestigial since they won't be able to add any new customers to them and spread the risk pool - so they're killing off the plans NOW, rather than letting them die on the vine.  It's not because of the additional requirements or costs, they're just doing it because they can and trying to use ObamaCare as an excuse to trick those clients into much more expensive plans.

                •  Problem is even very minor changes to policies (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  in the individual market (e.g. increasing a co-pay by $5) void their being grandfathered.  

                  At the same time, changes to company paid insurance get grandfathered while making far larger changes.

                  The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                  by nextstep on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 03:28:39 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Vyan - I like the new plan elements (0+ / 0-)

                  It would have been helpful if the President's statements had been more nuanced to reflect reality. He, and the Dems, are receiving a lot of bad press, much of it regarding his statements. He should just apologize and set the record straight. If he does it now the media buzz will increase for a few days and then just fade away, particularly if the ACA website gets fixed.

                  "let's talk about that"

                  by VClib on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 04:14:17 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't think he was wrong at all (0+ / 0-)

                    as I've gone back and checked, and now updated the diary to reflect, the premise you're operating from isn't the case.  All of the "new" elements that would have affected Grandfathered Plans Have Already been in Place, some for nearly 3 years.

                    You're argument, which I've been contemplating so far is that this year because of the ACA those plans have to be "upgraded" to meet minimum requirements, but that's not true because they had to add the 26 Year-Olds back in 2010, and they've had to abide by the 80% MLR since at least 2011, and they've had the Lifetime Caps phased in year by year since 2010.  (I may have a year mixed up here since I'm popping this in as I head ou the door, but you get the point) There really ISN'T a big ticket item that they've been hit with that would JUSTIFY their having to cancel these plans because of cost.  There IS NO additional cost.

                    The only thing that changed was the Lifetime cap went from $2Million to unlimited.  That's it.

      •  He said "if you like it you get to keep it" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        m00finsan, annecros, Alice Olson

        He may not have meant it as a lie, but it was CLEARLY a false statement that he was too smart even at the time to know would or could be true, even if its falseness was based on insurance company malfeasance and greed.

        We accomplish nothing by "getting Obama's back" on these secondary issues.

        Enough with the OFA talking points. This is not a WH echo chamber.

        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

        by kovie on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 08:33:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Primary issue here is insurance co rip offs (7+ / 0-)

          Parsing Obama's words is a distraction from the important issues.

          look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

          by FishOutofWater on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 08:53:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Only if one is a loyalist partisan... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            annecros, Alice Olson

            He screwed up big time, not on substance but on the only thing that really matters in public politics, perception. It was an unforced error, like most of his errors. Unforgivably stupid when we have much more important problems to deal with that are made much harder to deal with due to such errors.

            As with most pols, it's in his nature to tell people what they want to hear and is easier to tell than what they need to hear. It buys you time, but causes more problems down the line than are usually worth it.

            "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

            by kovie on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 09:13:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  okay... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TheLizardKing, Matt Z
              We accomplish nothing by "getting Obama's back" on these secondary issues.
              but what do we accomplish by attacking him on such a secondary issue?

              Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

              by Cedwyn on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 11:53:50 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Shaking some reality into him and his merry band (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Alice Olson, annecros

                of kool aid-drinking top aides, who appear to still believe that through charm and intelligence alone, we shall prevail. They screwed up the creation of the ACA, and now its implementation. Neither was or is excusable.

                It's all about process, implementation and results. Noble goals isn't enough.

                "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                by kovie on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 01:00:09 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  I don't think the only two choices here are (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                annecros, kovie

                attacking Obama or getting his back. Saying that Obama made a mistake that many recognized as such when he did it, is not "attacking" Obama, it's merely recognizing the reality we face right now. If some of these problems aren't ironed out, the possibility of defunding or otherwise scuttling the ACA remains very real to my mind, and that's not likely to lead to single payer. It's much more likely to get us back to the bad old days. Democratic members of Congress surely are hearing all these complaints and could just as easily roll over as hang tough.

                It's now five weeks since the Federal exchange was supposed to be fully operational and only six weeks from the deadline for getting coverage in place by January 1. Obama said, over and over again, "If you like your insurance, you can keep it" while many who liked their perfectly good insurance coverage are not able to keep it. It's true that the ACA didn't require that these policies be cancelled, but the companies are telling their insured that it was some aspect of the ACA that has caused them to get out of the business, to stop underwriting in their state, or whatever.

                These are real problems being faced by real people. They aren't made up and we embarrass ourselves by pretending they are. Just think how we howl when the Right Wing mouths lies and half truths or refuses to acknowledge the truth of one situation or another (Benghazi comes to mind). We shouldn't go down that path ourselves.

                The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

                by Alice Olson on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 01:33:17 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sigh, some people appear to still confuse (0+ / 0-)

                  ignoring, minimizing or denying a problem with its not being one. It feels good, but is part of the losing mindset.

                  "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                  by kovie on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 08:38:47 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  you yourself called it a "secondary issue" (0+ / 0-)

                    how is that not "minimizing"?

                    nobody is denying that the roll-out had issues.  nobody is pretending this crap is made up; we know real people are receiving these deceptive letters from INSURANCE COMPANIES.

                    the bottom line is that the plans may have higher premiums, but they save people a lot when it comes to actual coverage and deductibles and such.  

                    for all these complaints of "rate shock" or whatever, how many people were NOT able to find comparable or better plans on the exchanges?  

                    but instead of pointing out the truth of what is going on, we're, apparently, supposed to blame obama, as opposed to the jackals of the INSURANCE INDUSTRY (apologies to jackals).

                    what that accomplishes is still a mystery.  but maybe looking at "accomplishing" is the wrong view; let's ponder "harm" instead.

                    does it harm anyone to explain what is really behind these rate increases and put the blame where it really lies, with INSURANCE COMPANIES?

                    does it harm the ACA's chances of success (or obama's second term, or dems' shot at retaking the house, or everyone the INSURANCE COMPANIES -- not obama -- are trying to screw over) to pile onto this tempest in a teapot?

                    and this from the comment above rather proves the point:

                    I don't think the only two choices here are attacking Obama or getting his back. Saying that Obama made a mistake that many recognized as such when he did it, is not "attacking" Obama, it's merely recognizing the reality we face right now.

                    If some of these problems aren't ironed out, the possibility of defunding or otherwise scuttling the ACA remains very real to my mind, and that's not likely to lead to single payer. It's much more likely to get us back to the bad old days.

                    reality:  the problems with the website are being fixed as we type.

                    reality:  the deadline has been extended to march.

                    reality:  everything that has been claimed about how this is, by and large, sleazeball tactics from insurance jackals is every bit as real as the people being preyed upon by INSURANCE COMPANIES.

                    so, how is all of the above not ironing out the problems?

                    Democratic members of Congress surely are hearing all these complaints and could just as easily roll over as hang tough.
                    does congress also hear the debunkings, or just the complaints?  shouldn't we be arming them with all the debunking info they need and making sure there are lots of success stories getting play?  what about making sure they're hearing that side, too?  how is it bad to shine the light of the sleazy tactics of the INSURANCE COMPANIES blaming their choices on Obamacare?

                    so again, i ask:  what is won by us furthering this particular complaint?  

                    if one believes, as you seem to, that missteps such as obama's could be the undoing of the ACA and derail us from single payer, why would one choose that course of action?  don't you believe your goal is better served by making damn sure to explain that maybe obama chose his words poorly, but the real culprit/taker of plans here is INSURANCE COMPANY greed.

                    but yeah...if we keep on blaming obama/government instead of the INSURANCE COMPANIES, you may well end up right about this derailing single payer down the line.  

                    because the fact that obama maybe spoke inartfully is so totally the most important thing here.  ayup yup.  let's not talk about the volcano of lies from the INSURANCE COMPANIES or how the right is using everything they can to make a mountain of this particular molehill in their never-ending effort to destroy the ACA.  no, all means, let's harp on one ill-considered comment of obama's.  that will totally further our long-term goals!

                    Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

                    by Cedwyn on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 04:10:36 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Oh you have got to be kidding. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VPofKarma, Matt Z

              One paragraph from a political speech is more important than hundreds of thousands of people getting screwed? Really?

              That is one fucked of set of priorities right there.

              "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

              by nosleep4u on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 12:04:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  ^^^THIS is why we lose^^^ (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Alice Olson, annecros

                The conceited belief that because we're right and better and the other side crazy and stupid assholes, that's all it takes to win, as opposed to the realization that optics matter a lot in politics, even more so than substance.

                You win by winning over people who have a 3 second attention span. Reagan knew that and Obama knows that Reagan knew that, because he essentially said it. So, sorry, while this might well be "trivial", it matters in politics.

                When enough bubble-dwelling libs get this is when we win.

                "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                by kovie on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 12:58:01 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  How about "if it doesn't SUCK" (7+ / 0-)

          you can keep it?

          I haven't even read the OFA talking points.  I listened to David Axelrod and Deval Patrick yesterday on MTP, but I'm not making the arguments they were.  DA said it only affected a small number of plans and DP said that it took 2 Years to get the MA Exchange Site working properly.

          I think the problem was always getting too deep in the weeds with details.  There was always the grandfathered escape valve, and that was what he was talking about.  Did it protect every possible plan from having to be upgraded and replaced?  No, of course not - just how wonky would he have to get to make that distinction? The intent all along was clearly to limit the level of disruption - however, what the point here is that the Insurance Companies themselves, like LifeWise and Humana, have deliberately created a disruption for their own profit regardless of what Obama promised or the specific requirements of the ACA.

          Obama's problem was failing to anticipate this scam and that some people would "like" their pig-slop high-deductible unusable plans.  There's no accounting for people who dig drinking from Red Solo Cups with Holes in them.

          •  You are inserting perfectly reasonable (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            annecros, VPofKarma

            (if inelegantly worded) qualifiers into what he said that, unfortunately, he never actually inserted, and people are reacting to what he said, not what he probably meant and should have said. There are no "Yes, but"'s in politics.

            He shouldn't have said it the way he did, and is now paying a price for it that he didn't need to. Sure, it's all bullshit, but bullshit is the coin of the realm in public politics. You have to be a good bullshit manager to succeed in it.

            He dropped the ball on this one. It's correctable though, over time, provided that the ACA lives up to its billing. No one will remember or care about this if that happens. But it will become his version of "I did not have sex with that woman" if it does not, because the GOP and media will make it so.

            We do Obama no favors by being easy on him. He's said so himself.

            "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

            by kovie on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 09:17:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It was "sexual relations" (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Aquarius40, VPofKarma

              as it was defined by the plaintiffs and Clinton was absolutely right technically under their definition, even though no one remembers it that way.

              Yeah, it's fixable.  It's a technicality.  Obama will survive.

              •  And Clinton was helped exactly how (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                by that legally accurate "technicality"?

                We've got to cut down on the own-goals.

                "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                by kovie on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:24:07 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I've just updated the diary (5+ / 0-)

                  based on a commenter who points out that Grandfathered Plans all had the option of updating to meet requirements rather than being cancelled - so I'm going back to my origiinal point based on that information.  ALL PLANS could have easily added the 4 key features that would have let them continue to be offered under the ACA. Obama was technically and literally correct, the ACA did NOT cause these plans to be cancelled, the Insurance Companies Did. He wasn't wrong and he shouldn't be criticized for it.

                  •  I should point out that I was incorrect about (0+ / 0-)

                    the "phased in" nature for the lifetime caps.  That was for the annual limits, which are not applicable to grandfathered plans.  The lifetime cap and coverage for children under 26 were required to be available for plans being renewed on or after 9/23/10, according to HHS.

                  •  No (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Stop being willfully obtuse. Millions of Americans interpreted his words to mean what they sounded like, that no matter what plan you currently had, you got to keep it, period, not exceptions, qualifications of "Of course except for...".

                    I don't care what he meant. That's not how politics works. I care about what people heard. Ask any non-political junkie who's not a teabagger what they heard. It's not what you want to believe they heard. They heard the above.

                    You really think that this, plus the botched rollout of the web site, isn't why his ratings have gone down? It wasn't a "pox on both their houses" reaction to the latest showdown. He handled that extremely well I believe. This one, not so much. Of course, these were errors that took place years ago, coming back to haunt him now. All this said, though, I think it's passing.

                    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                    by kovie on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 01:05:00 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Having gone back and checked... (0+ / 0-)

                      he was absolutely right, not kinda right - totally right.  As I've now added to the diary and shown examples, each of the key elements of the ACA that would affect Grandfathered Plans had already been in place, some for up to 3 years.  So exactly why should the White House have expected a sudden jarring change, when for those plans - There Was No Change This Year.

                      These Insurers have NO LEGITIMATE COST RATIONALE for these cancellations.  The Law was written with exactly that point and goal in mind, that's why he said what he said.  He wasn't misleading, shaving the truth or skating on a "technicality".

                      It's the Insurance Companies who are LYING about why their implementing these cancellations,  they still can so they are as a way to jack up people's premiums, this wasn't a faux pau by Obama, it's an Ambush.

                      •  You're missing the point (0+ / 0-)

                        No one cares about substance or the truth. It's all about optics. He got that wrong even though he was technically right. It was like that remark about how country people run to their guns and religion. Correct, but a dumb thing to say.

                        All that people are thinking is that Obama promised that I could keep my plan, and now I can't. Never mind that it had nothing to do with the ACA, not legitimately at least. People are making the connection because that's how politics works these days. Don't give your enemies a loaded gun.

                        Politics 101.

                        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                        by kovie on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 06:42:28 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

      •  Grandfathering is not real in most cases (0+ / 0-)

        Grandfathering only applies if there have been NO changes to a healthplan that existed prior to the 2010 deadline.  If any changes, other than the most minor changes are made, then the grandfathering no longer applies.

        As written, if copays change by $5 the plan is no longer grandfathered.  

        The Congress/Administration when writing the ACA regs had the chance to use 2013 as a baseline date, but chose to use 2010.  The result, most insurance policies in the private marketplace are non-compliant.  It is being report that this decision was made on purpose because the newer, "better" policies require some items that may not be required by all subscribers (e.g. birth control for men & elderly) by requiring these subscribers to purchase insurance they do not require it subsidizes the expansion of medicare.  While you may approve or disapprove of this - it is in effect, a hidden tax.  Had this aspect of ACA been publicized in 2009 it would have been far more difficult to pass the law.

        •  This Commenter who is on a Grandfathered Plan (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil, Aquarius40, Betty Pinson

          seems to disagree with you.

          Plans could acquire grandfathered status by adding those features to the existing ones, they did not have to already have them in place.  Some of the elements, like the "no lifetime cap" one, were phased in over time, and therefore explicitly allowed adjustment of benefits in an existing plan.  
          The bottom line is this, the plans can be and have been changed to meet the Grandfather Requirements.  These Cancellations are not because of ObamaCare, they are the choice of the insurance industry NOT TO UPDATE THE PLANS and instead claim they are doing because of Obamacare and then trick their customers into a more expensive plan that they say  they HAVE TO take to meet ACA quality standards.

          But they don't. It's a Scam.

  •  The real problem this shows (7+ / 0-)

    The real problem this shows is that Obama and the Democrats chose to keep the private health insurance industry intact. Single payer/Medicare-for-All was off the table immediately by the Dems. And Obama promised health insurance industry lobbyists and execs that he'd kill the public option.

  •  This is a good illustration of what I see (25+ / 0-)

    as a new "paradigm" in the way corporations treat consumers.  They hire some savvy bean counters who will calculate exactly how many people will "do nothing" and semi-automatically enroll in new plans because they count on a certain percentage of people (students, young people probably) not to be at all up to speed about even the availability of the ACA.  That calculation translates into X amount of dollars for the insurance company.

    It's the same sort of thinking that goes into selling products that come with a "rebate". Some savvy bean counter projects that a certain percentage will "do nothing' and that calculation translates into substantial profits that offset the cost of putting the item on "sale."

    Same thinking goes into emphasizing what the "minimum payment" is when you get a credit card bill. They calculate a certain percentage will "do nothing" and pay the minimum.

    It's all part of a mindset that essentially boilsd down to putting the onus on the consumer to avoid beng ripped off.  And it maximizes the last dime out of the consumer.

    During the last couple of decades American capitalism
    has gradually shifted into a much more aggressive, "predatory" posture towards all of us..

  •  Sneaky of the insurance companies. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm wondering if they intend to rebate the subscriber if they don't spend 80% (or is it 85%) on health care?

    Reach out your hand if your cup be empty, If your cup is full may it be again,

    by VPofKarma on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 08:18:25 AM PST

  •  Big biz lies to make money and commits evil (8+ / 0-)

    to make money.

    Not surprised.

    tipped & rec'ed

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 08:20:35 AM PST

  •  I did a diary on this (12+ / 0-)

    This same thing happened when the Democrats passed the Credit Card Reform Act, which would prevent credit card companies form jacking rates on people for ridiculous reasons, mid-contract. The credit card companies knew their scam game was up...almost.

    So a bunch of them sent out letters telling people "good news! You can keep your credit card contract in place!" and then in small print explaining that your rate would go to 29+% if you didn't call in and opt out.

    Now, here's the real kicker: if you did opt out - I certainly did! - you wouldn't lose your credit card...they couldn't do that. You would keep your current contract and current rate in place. But the threat was that they wouldn't let you RENEW if you didn't give them the 29+% interest.

    A year later, they let me renew, but I told them to shove it.

    This is the free market that will self-correct and so make life all Ayn Randian glorious for us all, right?

  •  Who would have thought people would complain (7+ / 0-)

    they could no longer get toilet water because the new well delivers pure water and drinking toilet water is no longer allowed?


    Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

    by 88kathy on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 09:00:32 AM PST

  •  I got exactly this sort of letter (3+ / 0-)

    MI's exchange doesn't open until next year (March, I believe), and my insurance company plan conveniently expires at the end of December.  So I can either reenroll for a year in one of the new, more costly plans they helpfully informed me of, or I can go without health insurance for 3+ months until the exchange opens.  

    MI is pretty much run by the insurance industry, so it's a safe bet that things were planned this way.  

    Now, is it fair to blame Obamacare for this?  Well if the ACA had included a public option, I wouldn't be faced with this problem, would I?  The problem with the ACA is that this sort of scamming is perfectly legal under the law.  We can blame the insurance companies for the scamming, but ultimately shouldn't the ACA have contained provisions to prevent exactly this sort of behavior?

    Should we be surprised that legislation written by the health insurance industry is so profitable for that industry?  Progressives should think hard about this shoe being on the other foot:  if President Romney had passed the ACA, would we be so spare in our criticism of the law?  Or would we perhaps see it as yet another example of vulture capitalism, of a hostile corporate takeover of American government to write legislation that augments their profits.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 09:12:42 AM PST

    •  A Public Option (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Subterranean, Cedwyn

      probably wouldn't change this that much since the issue is that gap before you can enroll in the exchange.  That gap would exist either way.  However, the replacement for the Public Option - the Mutli-State Plan Program is available in Michigan through that State Exchange.

      Right now OPM has contracted with Blue Shield to provide 2 plans for MI.

      Gold which start at $272/Month and Silver starting at $228/Month.

      OPM has considerably more power to negotiate the prices for these plans than the State Exchanges do.

      •  Thanks for the info, Vyan, (0+ / 0-)

        You know this stuff inside and out, don't you? :)

        It took some effort, but I've found a suitable plan for the next year.  I'm still steamed at Snyder for setting up the exchange late so his insurance buddies could get in one last scam before they got their flood of federally mandated customers.  And I still believe that the ACA was intentionally crafted to permit this sort of behavior.  We got punk'd.

        "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

        by Subterranean on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:15:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Also, public option (0+ / 0-)

        it could and should have been implemented federally, so it did not depend on state cooperation.  But that's a whole other ball of wax.

        "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

        by Subterranean on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:16:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The MSPP are being run Federally (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aquarius40, Subterranean

          by the Office of Personel Management, the same group that runs the Federal Benefits Program.  It's available in 31 State right now and will be in all 50 States over the next 2 years.  The main difference between this a Public Option was that the PO was a Mini-Medicare.   It was initially pegged to the same price and premium structure as Medicare - which is what made it so cheap - but it only remained with that pricing for the first 5 years, after that it was allowed to "float" with market forces.  It wasn't completely price-controlled the way that Medicare is, however the MSPP IS price controlled.  OPM can negotiate the premiums and the profit-margins of any non-profit they sub-contract with to provide services.  I'm only disapointed that they didn't choose to set a higher MLR than the 80% that already exists in the Exchanges, they could have taken that much higher.  Oh well.

          •  Vyan, you saved me some coin! (0+ / 0-)

            I've checked out the links you provided in a the previous comment, and there are savings over plan I had originally settled on.  Good thing I decided to hold off on signing to any plan until December, since I figured my search wasn't 100% thorough.  

            I've always enjoyed your diaries but they strike home even harder when I'm directly affected.  You rock!

            "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

            by Subterranean on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 12:09:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Hopefully this story will get out there (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vyan, pamelabrown

    and counter this Obama lied to me theme.  This is mostly about insurance company manipulation. There are cases where some folks might have to pay more out of pocket.  We don't really know what that number is but it is likely a fraction or percentage of the individual market.  The stories I've seen in the press are either with people who did not know they had cheaper/better options or people who had unique characteristics (people who work in one state and live in another (making apples to apples comparison of costs difficult) and people who are almost at medicare age.  That there may be gaps in a bill this comprehensive is not unusual. Frankly, these gaps seem to represent a very small portion of the overall consumer market.

    We do need to push scrutiny upon the insurance companies, because they will stop at nothing to manipulate the situation.  It is a little difficult for the WH to do this because the ACA depends on some level of cooperation, but I think the Senate should hold hearings and hold their feet to the fire.

    Global Shakedown - Alternative rock with something to say. Check out their latest release, "A Time to Recognize": Available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and other major online music sites. Visit

    by khyber900 on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 09:15:09 AM PST

  •  Tell this to NPR (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, annecros, RustyBrown

    The Nice Polite Republicans have taken to using "disastrous" with every story they blather about how dreadful the ACA site is.

    Great Questions of Western Philosophy: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

    by Mnemosyne on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 09:15:24 AM PST

  •  Good diary, thanks vyan. eom (0+ / 0-)

    If debugging is the process of removing bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.

    by kharma on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:00:12 AM PST

  •  ...oh we got one of those letters... (8+ / 0-)

    ...from AnthemBlueCross. Our policy was going to be cancelled, but if we liked it they'd kindly put us into a new policy...which would cost more than double.

    What we did was go to Covered California and got a Silver Plan that was way, way better AND costs us $91 per month less than the shitty plan we had (which wasn't up the the minimum standards of the Bronze plans).

    This really needs to be trumpeted loudly by media...both internet media and on the tee vee...

    Ignorance is bliss only for the ignorant. The rest of us must suffer the consequences. -7.38; -3.44

    by paradise50 on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:02:27 AM PST

  •  I suspect this line of argument, in addition to (0+ / 0-)

    providing anti-corporate red meat, is also an attempt to keep this story from gaining any traction, given its potential in 2014 Senate races, and the fact there will likely be a second wave of "if you like your policy..." angst when the employer mandate delay expires during the run up to the 2014 election.

    And as articles here, here, and here address, employer-based plans are already being affected by the so-called "Cadillac" tax coming down the pike in 2018.

  •  Well then there should have been a better plan. (0+ / 0-)

    "It is easier to pass through the eye of a needle then it is to be an honest politician."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:41:58 AM PST

  •  There should be a requirement (0+ / 0-)

    that each of these letters includes a disclaimer that other plans are available on the exchange, and consumers should compare plans before committing to one. In the same size type as the body of the letter.

    To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate--that is strength undefeatable. (Helen Keller)

    by kareylou on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:44:18 AM PST

  •  No excuse for people who just believe anything (0+ / 0-)

    that somebody tells them without checking for the facts themselves.
    We live in a society valuing ease, comfort, convenience and sloth, and that means millions of people just go along with whatever costs them the least effort, no matter what the ultimate price. A nation of sheep.
    I have no respect for ignorant, uneducated or lazy people. I feel no compulsion to save them from themselves.

    Ash-sha'b yurid isqat an-nizam!

    by fourthcornerman on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:47:26 AM PST

  •  Policies normally last one year (0+ / 0-)

    Many people seem to be forgetting that most individual and small group plans are one year contracts.  At the end of the policy year, they are replaced or renewed, usually with different terms and higher premiums. As the president explained, the ACA generally speaking left existing policies intact, meaning among other things that it did NOT adjust the expiry date of existing policies to make them permanent and irrevocable.  You couldn't keep your policy forever under the old law; you can't keep it forever under the ACA.  But under the ACA, unlike the old system, when your policy ends, you will be able to get some sort of meaningful replacement coverage at a competitive price, even if you have lost your job and have a pre-existing condition.   And, by the way, I went on that supposedly impossible website, I had no problem at all navigating it, and I figured out that for my small business, I can get exactly the same insurance I have now for next year, except that it will cost me and my employees 25% less.

    Your flag decal won't get you into Heaven any more - John Prine

    by Kerry Conservative on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 11:19:49 AM PST

  •  You try to make private insurers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    part of the solution, you deserve what you get.  

    They're the problem, not the solution.

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 11:45:05 AM PST

  •  Read this from Alternet (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annecros, Betty Pinson, RustyBrown

    about trusting the health insurance industry.

    The last line says it all, "Is anyone really surprised?"

  •  The GOP Is Like A Dog W/ An Old Bone.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The meat was sucked & gnawed off the old bone long ago.  Repeal got buried long ago but the GOP keeps digging it up over & over & over again.

    The ACA is here to stay.  They have NOTHING, NADA, ZILCH to replace it, but they rely on talking points & helpful news stations to keep the lie alive that they are going to repeal & replace Obamacare.

    They have nothing.  They will go nowhere w/ their talk of Obamacare being on life support.

    Yesterday Bill Kristol called Hillary too old to run.  He said the GOP will bring fresh new ideas w/ their candidates in 2016.  She also doesn't have experience according to Bill.

    The woman lived in the White House, was a state senator, & a brilliant SOS.  But then there is Benghazi.  According to Bill, she can't match up w/ what they've got waiting in the Presidential stable.

    We'll see.

    •  Exactly. Americans like what the ACA does (0+ / 0-)

      for them and unless the GOP finds a way for insurance companies to keep rates affordable with all these new rules, that Americans won't give up, then it is over.

      the change now will be better care

      "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

      by merrywidow on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 12:38:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  OT: can a shareholder of a public co sue over ACA (0+ / 0-)

    a shareholder who objects to Coca Cola giving birth control...just wondering

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 12:36:38 PM PST

  •  Just one small point (0+ / 0-)

    ACA isnt supposed to provide free health care. It is in place to prevent the economic disaster of financial ruin should you get sick.  The population as a whole will have to pay this cost in the hospitals etc. if someone gets sick and declare bankruptcy.  So YES, there are some products out there that do not meet this standard, because the "free market" can sometimes sell %$*& to people. Substandard coverage doesnt solve the problem - thus there is a requirement.  ACA does make allowances for affordability - which many GOPers and Insurance companies are trying to obfuscate. And President Obama trying to distill things down to a simple phrase like "you can keep your coverage if you like it"  simply lent fuel to the bad guys fire. Because it gives the out - "I have next to nothing to prevent me from destroying the system - but I like it..."  thereby defeating its very purpose.

    Furthermore, as mentioned above, the GOP had no ideas to help the situation - and the situation as it was - was unsustainable.  Sure, ACA isnt the best we could do, but it is a start, and will require that we all pay something toward health care in a way that doesnt lower costs, but does manage to keep them more in check for a while, thereby protecting pension plans, school systems, that local private school people in the south seem to love so much, and yes even IBM and Apple, for after a little while they too wouldnt be able to afford to extend health care to their workers. Honestly, I just cant see why so many businesses are against it - other than pure ignorance. Or could it be that the plan all along was to do away with health care and that monopoly of thought has now been broken?

  •  Think I'll save (0+ / 0-)

    some strength for the next round. Lots of smaller issues to be worked on, no doubt of it. But, if the ultimate prize is single payor/Medicare for all, then this is still early on in the battle. To get to this place it took a lot of people and a lot of effort. More of both will be needed. Coffee anyone?

    Common Sense is not Common

    by RustyBrown on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 04:18:29 AM PST

  •  Typo in the heading about the "Human" letter (0+ / 0-)
    Read the INHuman Letter.
    Fixed it for ya.
  •  Insurance Companies Never Could Be Trusted (0+ / 0-)

    So the insurance companies never had to cancel even bogus plans because they were grandfathered but they chose to do so, in the hopes of causing people to pay more rather than use the exchanges.  Was there ever a better argument for the single payer health plan?  These companies have gotten rich denying coverage to people who have been paying premiums for years or for cutting them off if they contracted an expensive, life threatening illness.  Now they are once again attempting to rob the American public.  Why are we allowing them to sell policies without a competing government health program?

  •  This is WAR (0+ / 0-)

    The insurance companies mentioned are waging war on people who have to worry about premiums - not the rich.

    They are knowingly killing people who will continue with bad plans with huge deductibles leading to them not seeking care if their wallet is light.

    I suggest 'renditioning them to Deming,  New Mexico leaving the executives in their underwear in a Walmart parking lot.

  •  It's a scam,but a trivially predictable one, so... (0+ / 0-)

    ...I still think they made a mistake making a promise they couldn't (in this case) enforce.

    I mean, if Obama had repeatedly said, 'If you like your decent insurance plan, and the insurance companies act as if they were good citizens and not rapacious predators, you can keep that plan,' he would have been accurate, but I don't think it would have sold as well...but really, they had no excuse to assume that the companies would act as any way but sociopathically, even though they were getting a sweet deal without it (guarantied/subsidised customers in a fake 'market' without much really in the way of cimpetition...and much as I like government standards, they do have the effect of biasing the world in favour of larger and better-established/lobbying players, so they'll end up being good for the companies).

    Yet another reason these firms should be replaced by a single-payer system and their corporate charters sown with salt.

  •  Talking Points Memo Reference (0+ / 0-)

    What's the link to the Talking Points Memo article on this?

  •  I sing your praises (0+ / 0-)

    While I didn't have all the "hard facts" to back it up, this is what I've been telling all the RWNJs on some of the various discussion sites (e.g., mediaite).

    Unfortunately, the last time I tried to quote Daily Kos, the answer was, "Yeah, you jerk librul, look who your quoting, what would you expect..." (sp/gram errors intentional)

    Too much of the right wing simply refuses to acknowledge reality.  Their hatred for our President is so firm that they will believe absolutely anything that makes him look bad.

  •  Insurance Companies Recouping Predicted Losses (0+ / 0-)

    My plan was canceled because it didn't meet the minimum requirements in only one way, prescription coverage.  I have been offered a new plan that costs more, and the new coverage is much worse, and worse in at least 10 ways (but the new plan complies with the new law, because it has really crappy Rx coverage instead of no Rx coverage).  
    It's pretty obvious that the insurance companies will see a  huge reduction in profits due to the ACA mandates; and they are, therefore, attempting to recoup a portion of those losses via their current insureds by increasing premiums and/or decreasing coverage. I'm certainly not the least bit happy about it, but I think it was very predictable.
    I think about each citizen who the insurance companies previously said no to insuring because they knew the likelihood was that that person could cost them 10s or 100s of thousands of dollars, and now they are mandated to cover them; and I think about all of the new items insurance companies must cover that they didn't before.  It seems to me that just about any business faced with substantial losses in profit would raise their prices and/or reduce their product offering.  
    Since my post ACA plan that I'm being offered for an increased rate is so substandard to my current plan that I won't actually be able to afford to use it, I will very likely have no insurance after January 1.
    I would be so happy if I could just keep my current plan.

  •  I'm not too thrilled about a First Amendment... (0+ / 0-)

    ...that allows corporations to lie to their customers in such a bold way. Seems to me, some type of regulation already exists to punish such blatant fraud!

Meteor Blades, skybluewater, sdf, Angie in WA State, Doug in SF, Joe Bob, Schmendrick, Sylv, TXdem, Sean Robertson, fcvaguy, dragonlady, greendem, Geenius at Wrok, Hummingbird, LynChi, genethefiend, eeff, Mnemosyne, TX Unmuzzled, figdish, elfling, Matilda, hnichols, geordie, Zinman, 88kathy, amsterdam, lippythelion69, highacidity, boadicea, Kerry Conservative, otto, Aquarius40, roses, pedrito, Nate Roberts, Cedwyn, aitchdee, wader, kharma, yet another liberal, Sophie Amrain, Matt Jordan, tomjones, solesse413, vivadissent, Gowrie Gal, Dirk McQuigley, vcmvo2, marina, radarlady, NoMoreLies, greycat, blueyedace2, glynis, Tonedevil, Brooke In Seattle, eru, owlbear1, bleeding blue, sunbro, SBandini, Rusty in PA, Alan Arizona, poco, myboo, RustyBrown, Themistoclea, cookseytalbott, smokeymonkey, dewey of the desert, JVolvo, middleagedhousewife, IL clb, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, chgobob, Elasg, ladypockt, ammasdarling, Loudoun County Dem, camlbacker, weneedahero, devis1, Dartagnan, ColoTim, nicteis, FishOutofWater, wildweasels, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, shesaid, Shadowmage36, Uncle Cosmo, second gen, Rumarhazzit, JML9999, Assaf, cville townie, JDWolverton, MKinTN, kingneil, Sixty Something, Involuntary Exile, bythesea, elwior, tofumagoo, pamelabrown, smartdemmg, Gentle Giant, Diogenes2008, legendmn, prettygirlxoxoxo, txvoodoo, imchange, notrouble, RASalvatore, petral, annsybl, johnosahon, guyeda, jfromga, Leftcandid, Black Mare, Larsstephens, BlueOak, smileycreek, serendipityisabitch, gramofsam1, David Harris Gershon, kjoftherock, biggiefries, tellthestories, elginblt, ItsSimpleSimon, paradise50, Kristina40, Yasuragi, Betty Pinson, ericlewis0, USHomeopath, Loose Fur, nosleep4u, theKgirls, Onomastic, kerflooey, wheresjim, spooks51, Will in Chicago, slowbutsure, sostos, Lusty, sethtriggs, badscience, BarackStarObama, SteelerGrrl, allergywoman, Mortifyd, Sister Inspired Revolver of Freedom, Cordyc, sow hat, Siri, ahumbleopinion, a2nite, ANY THING TOO ADD, Steve Masover, Horace Boothroyd III, jan4insight, radical simplicity, Arahahex, MartyM, doroma, cassandracarolina, wasatch, ZatCSU, Hammerhand, Greatwyrm, pointilleux, smokey545, Thornrose, Neapolitan, peterfallow, oslyn7, CenPhx, Annie B, Dodgerdog1, RightHeaded, VPofKarma, JimValent, bwest, zenwishes, Againststochasticterrorism, bonnybedlam, july860, lonelybamadem

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site