In a Town hall meeting in New Hampshire, on August 11, 2009, President Obama said, “if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan”. He also touted in June of 2012, “If you are one of the 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.” Ironically, I got a letter from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois that said my policy will be cancelled on December 31, 2013. They have given me options for new plans, none of which are a good as my current plan.
Chicago based Celtic Insurance, Celtic is owned by Centene Corporation (CNC), has issued similar letters only worse Celtic is not offering clients a new plan. I have clients with this carrier in Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and New Hampshire. The letter states, “with changes in the major medical insurance marketplace, your clients current certificate underwritten by Celtic does not fully comply with the Affordable Care Act. This letter is Celtic’s formal written notice of your clients termination and discontinuance of their certificate, on 12/31/2013.”
In my opinion Celtic had the best business model of any carrier. They covered the catastrophic as good if not better than anyone. Usually you had your deductible then it was 80/20 until you spent an additional $2000. With most people having between a $2500 and $5000 deductible you were covered well for a catastrophe. They limited your doctor visits to 2 per person per year with a co-pay. After that it applied to the deductible (funny how we are now seeing that on many of the ACA plans). They did not offer maternity coverage, and mental health depended on the State they were in).
They have decided in these markets, to just get out. They were not “limited plans” they were outstanding Major Medical plans. My Blue Cross/ Blue Shield plan was a Health Savings Account (H.S.A) with a family deductible of $5200 then 100% coverage. I had the “savings account” funded, so I was prepared if I had a major health occurrence.
The plan they are replacing it with will be a $6000 deductible (which I would be ok with) but the family out of pocket maximum is $12,700. That would bury me financially.
It seems the new health care law has a major focus on preventive care, which I am not saying is a bad thing, but I can pay for those things myself. My car insurance does not pay for oil changes, but I still get them done every 3000 miles. I can pay $100 for a physical I am not worried about that. What I cannot pay is $12,700.
In Florida, Florida Blue cancelled 300,000 policies, In California, California’s Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente will cancel a combined 280,000. Highmark Health Services of Pittsburgh will withdraw 40,000 policies. Care First Blue Cross, serving Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia informed 70,000 clients that they will need to find new plans.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said insurance companies are cancelling substandard plans with do not meet the essential benefits. Well that is partially true, they are not substandard plans. They might not have all of the essential benefits that are now required, but they did serve the client’s needs from an asset protection stand point. And in many ways they are better than they were now. There are a lot of what are called Mini-med plans or limited benefit plans. These are very common in the restaurant industry and hotel industry, and were also big in the pre-existing health insurance market. Insurers would often times accept these people, but would have “limits” on what they would pay. Not necessarily a bad thing, as long as the client was aware of them. They were also quite affordable. Now I understand if the health law was aimed at eliminating these or if these were the plans that were being cancelled. These plans are not being cancelled. It is the major medical plans that do not meet the new Affordable Care Act benefits. That does not make them substandard plans.
I would still argue if you had a “mini-med” healthcare plan and you liked your “mini-med” healthcare plan, why should that be taken away from you either.