Insurers around the country are sending hundreds of thousands of cancellation letters to consumers who buy their own coverage, forcing some to buy more expensive policies. About 14 million people aren’t offered insurance through their employers, therefore having to buy their own insurance. Insurers say that many of the policies sold after March 2010 don’t meet the Affordable Care Act’s requirements which start on January 1, 2014. The new policies that meet the ACA’s requirements, will offer consumers better coverage and 10 “essential” benefits which include prescription drugs, mental health treatment, and maternity care.
The notices have upset some customers who thought they would be able to keep their plans if they liked them. Florida Blue is canceling 300,000 policies, Kaiser Permanente in California is canceling 160,000 and Independence Blue Cross, the major insurer in Philadelphia, is terminating 45 percent of its plans.
Consumer advocates believe insurers may be doing this to rid their systems of policy holders they no longer want but insurers deny the allegation, stating they expect these policy holders to re-enroll in new plans that may actually offer more coverage. But, consumers worry that this better coverage may come at a high cost.
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