If you haven’t already received a cancellation notice from your healthcare insurance provider, undoubtedly you know a friend or family member who has already been given the devastating news. Millions of Americans are receiving letters from insurance companies like these featured on MyCancellation.com from BlueCross BlueShield, Humana, Aetna, Health Net, Anthem, Cigna, Coventry, and others informing them that their current health care policies are being cancelled because they can no longer be offered under the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). Replacement policies often involve premium increases of 100 percent or more, in addition to to the triple whammy of increased co-pays, higher deductibles, and loss of tax deductions for excessive medical expenses.
Even many of those policies that have not been cancelled technically are de facto cancelled, since premiums, benefits, co-pays, and deductibles have been so drastically altered that they are no longer the same policies, although they may carry the same name.
3.5 Million Cancelled — and Counting
At first, it was only the 19 million or so people in the individual health insurance market that were said to be at risk of losing their existing plans. Associated Press reported on November 4 that “at least 3.5 million Americans have been issued cancellations, but the exact number is unclear. Associated Press checks find that data is unavailable in a half the states.” So the number of cancellations could already be double that, or more, depending on which state totals remain to be tabulated.
As we reported weeks ago, healthcare expert Robert Laszewski predicted as many as 16 million Americans in the individual market are in danger of losing their coverage. But, we noted shortly thereafter (“ObamaCare Killing Employer-sponsored Health Insurance — Millions Affected”), all Employer Sponsored Insurance (ESI) plans, whether provided by private companies or government entities, are also on the ObamaCare chopping block. Home Depot, GE, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, IBM, Time Warner, and the Fairfax County (Virginia) Water Authority are just a few of the major corporations and government agencies that have announced intentions to stop sponsoring employee health insurance plans.
Small Businesses Next on the Chopping Block
Over the next few months, millions of employees who work for small businesses will experience the same cancellation shock and sticker shock now being felt by millions of Americans with individual health plans. Scott Gottlieb at Forbes.com reported on November 6:
Small businesses, with fewer than 50 employees, are not forced to provide coverage under Obamacare. But when they do, policies sold in the small group market are subject to the same regulations now forcing the termination of millions of health plans sold directly to consumers.
But late last year, businesses that employed fewer than 50 employees began exploiting a loophole they found in the Obamacare text. If the businesses renewed their policies early, before the end of 2013, then those plans would not be subject to Obamacare’s costly mandates for a full year, in many cases until December 31, 2014.
But that clock is already ticking. Starting in October 2014, many employees of small businesses will start getting the same notices that are now being mailed to individuals, informing that their existing health plans are also being cancelled.
These small businesses will be faced with a bleak choice. Find another policy that’s compliant with Obamacare, but also more costly. Or put their employees into the Obamacare exchange.
How much will small businesses be affected once they are also made subject to the full brunt of Obamacare? “Aetna has already warned in its marketing materials that dramatic increases in premiums might be in the offing,” writes Gottlieb. “Factors such as essential health benefits, maximum plan deductibles, the application of new taxes and fees and new rating rules will combine to push insurance premiums up substantially for some small businesses,” Aetna has said.
As The New American’s Alex Newman reported on October 29, President Obama knew at least three years ago that he was lying when he repeatedly, emphatically promised that under ObamaCare: “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your healthcare plan. Period.” Deep within the 2010 ACA bill is the admission that 40 to 67 percent of individual insurance plans would be made illegal, once various ObamaCare features kicked in. Which means he knew that upwards of 13 million individual policy holders were going to be zapped by the ACA almost from the get-go.
Since ObamaCare is being constantly revised and “developed” by over 150 federal agencies, departments, and commissions, the sticker shock and cancellation shock are sure to hit tens of millions more Americans in wave after rolling wave — unless and until enough Americans get sufficiently outraged to build a fire under Congress to repeal ObamaCare.