White House touts youth gains under Obamacare amid complaints about cancelled policies
While federal officials released a study on Monday highlighting what they called significant medical coverage gains for young single adults under the Affordable Care Act, (ACA) NBC News reported that the law was written in such a way that it reneges on President Barack Obama’s pledge that Americans would be able to retain their current policies after it was enacted.
According to NBC, documents from July 2010 concerning the regulation of the program, known as Obamacare, accounted for the cancellation of “40 to 67 percent” of policies for Americans who buy their own insurance. People who go through government services or their employers for their medical insurance are not expected to be affected.
“This says that when they made the promise, they knew half the people in this market outright couldn’t keep what they had,” health industry consultant Robert Laszewski told NBC. “And then they wrote the rules so that others couldn’t make it either.”
Several policy holders interviewed by NBC stated that the alternative plans suggested to them after their current policies were canceled contained exhorbitant increases to their premiums and deductibles. NBC’s report did not mention whether they accounted for the subsidies offered by the government as a discount for people who join the ACA’s health exchange program.
White House spokesperson Jessica Santillo responded to the criticism by saying policy holders are reporting getting cancellation notices from their insurance providers because their plans do not meet the federal standards imposed by the law, which includes a ban on denying treatment based on pre-existing conditions.
“Nothing in the Affordable Care Act forces people out of their health plans,” Santillo told NBC. “The law allows plans that covered people at the time the law was enacted to continue to offer that same coverage to the same enrollees. Nothing has changed and that coverage can continue into 2014.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) released a report (PDF) stating that nearly half of eligible people between the ages of 18 and 34 in states that have signed on for the exchange program may qualify for a health policy that costs less than $50 a month. The report also stated that, should those states opt to expand their Medicaid program, the percentage of eligible young adults would grow from 50 to 86 percent.
Watch NBC’s report, aired on Monday, below.
[Image: “Young Female Therapist Consulting Male Client About Posture,” via Shutterstock]