Why Some Americans' Health Insurance Policies Are Being Cancelled Under the ACA

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tomorrow marks a full month since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance exchanges went online. It has not been going well. Many have been unable to sign up for a plan.

President Obama tried to assuage concerns over the ACA rollout yesterday in Boston:

“All the parade of horribles the worse predictions about health care reform in Massachusetts never came true, they're the same arguments that you're hearing now.”

Earlier in the day, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was grilled by Congress for the federal exchange website failures. In the hearing, Sebelius assured House Energy and Commerce Committee members that individual insurance plans in place when the President signed the ACA would be "grandfathered in."

And yet, more and more individuals are receiving letters from their insurers warning that their policies will be cancelled at the end of this year.

Julie Appleby, a reporter for Kaiser Health News, and Heather Goldwater, an entrepreneur and new mother whose insurance policy is soon to be cancelled, join us to discuss whether the President’s rhetoric stands up to reality.


Julie Appleby and Heather Goldwater

Produced by:

Tyler Adams


Gianna Palmer

Comments [8]

emjayay from Brooklyn

Oh, and there was also no questioning or analysis about why Cigna was cancelling her policy. Did anyone from the Takeaway talk to Cigna? Apparently not. Maybe her plan had yearly and lifetime caps. Maybe her plan routinely liked to cancel people because the got cancer or something. Did the Takeaway do any research about Cigna in general? Apparently not. The Takeaway likes to portray itself as a sort of personal semi-investigative news show, but it generally ends up being personal and superficial and lazy.

Oct. 31 2013 04:45 PM
emjayay from Brooklyn

Hockenberry talked to a woman who got a letter about her insurance (Cigna?) ending on Dec 31, and that they would send her info on plans at the beginning of October but hasn't yet, and she hasn't gone to the ACA website because it doesn't work. No mention of calling Cigna. Did she ever think of that? Did she ever try the Cigna website? Apparently not, and those are the obvious thing to do. No mention of calling ACA either, although she should talk to Cigna first. Why didn't Hockenberry ask her any pertinent questions?

He was apparently far too concerned with making drama than doing any actual reporting.

Oct. 31 2013 04:38 PM
Christine from Dallas

Scary going to the hospital without insurance!
My husband and I started a small business this summer. We couldn't afford Cobra or the continuing offer from our old insurance when he stopped working for his big company. (over $1100/month, with no dental, mental or eye care)
Because our startup income isn't rolling in yet, and we are living off of savings, our kids qualified for CHIP, the state's medical program for kids. But my husband and I could not get any help! So we are taking a big risk.
We have high hopes for the Affordable Health Care Act! In the interim, my husband had a kidney stone which left us with a $10,000 hospital bill (not including the doctors or tests) He was only there for a couple of hours.
Meanwhile we are anxiously awaiting an insurance option for us, and wondering how we are going to pay that bill.
We knew AHA would be a rocky start- such a new, huge program. And I'm assuming that insurance companies are canceling policies, but people can just sign up for better, fair prices (we hope). Not worried about the future.

Oct. 31 2013 12:25 PM

WOW. Hockenberry is even willing to throw his fellow reporters under the bus. "Is the media is misreporting the story." His wife and kids better watch their backs. Worship of the God Obama comes at a heavy price.

Oct. 31 2013 10:58 AM
Laiah Raphael from Greewich CT

Anyone who has tried to buy an airline ticket, or shop on Amazon, or eBay, or any other online store, knows how difficult and frustrating it is to navigate the websites. User id, password, security questions, and one extra space or no spaces or a middle initial left out, can cancel the whole thing and you have to start over. Click on a box twice and you have purchased two instead of the one you wanted. I have not been on the health care website, but we need patience.

Do the Republicans know how angry and hurt and uncomfortable the people who did vote for President Obama are? Nobody wants to be told over and over again that their choice was bad, and stupid and dangerous for the country. It is a bad psychological move on the part of the Republicans.

Best regards, Laiah Raphael

Oct. 31 2013 10:52 AM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

The fear of losing my health care in January has made me go to every kind of doctor...
I thought that I had cancer when the Doctor's Secretary called me last week and said,"The Doctor wants you to come in and talk about the sonogram on the lump on your back."
"Can't he just tell me over the phone?"
"When I went in and he told me that I just had a fatty deposit growing on my back, I was relieved but freaked out on him,"You can't let someone on the hook like that on the phone. You need to say,'It's not cancer,come in.' I almost had a heart attack."
He replied,"Oh, your EKG says your heart is good."
"Great! Now, give me a flu shot while I'm here."
I'm going to the Podiatrist this week, some woman ran over my leg with her shopping cart at work.

Oct. 31 2013 10:16 AM

This story is, in my view, being severely misreported in order to exploit tension between the public and the advent of ACA.

Most (over 95%) of these cancellations would occur anyway. A yearly re-rate of the premium is also common. The ACA has turned many of the policies in the individual market into illegal vehicles.

healthcare.gov's problems with completing an application are a bigger problem, the fact that the President's statement that "If you like your current plan you can keep it." did not recognize the volatility inherent in the individual market but how many mic's would have stayed on if the comment had been "If you like your current plan, you can keep it. That is, if your current company actually offers that plan. They have a year for all of their plans to become ACA compliant but they may act in advance of the scheduled dates. That is their decision."

I expect NPR to give a more complete story -- and usually the details of what is happening is reported -- but I have to say that my perception is that the are leading with the scare headline of 'Did Obama mislead us?' more and more.

Can you tell the story without adding to the hysteria?

Oct. 31 2013 09:20 AM

Wow. Just wow. I am trying to imagine the production meeting for this story. John Hockenberry; "Okay, people. Sebelius got hammered in Congress. The Republicans are really gaining traction with the story about how many people are getting canceled because of expanded requirements for acceptable plans under the ACA; let's work up a story to push back on that..."

There was no good answer. Some people who like their current plans will not be able to keep their plans. "Period."

Oct. 31 2013 09:19 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.