280,000 Kentuckians with cancelled insurance plans are getting offers of new coverage, official says

11/06/2013 12:40 PM

State health cabinet and insurance officials are trying to counter frustration and confusion — and political arguments — in the wake of a rash of insurance policy cancellations as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

Around 280,000 Kentuckians will see their current insurance policies be discontinued in the coming months because of changes brought on by the Affordable Care Act, but that does not mean they are being dropped, according to the Kentucky Department of Insurance.

About 130,000 individuals and 150,000 people who hold small group policies in the state will receive letters stating that their policy is discontinued because the plan does not comply with the Affordable Care Act, according to Kentucky Department of Insurance spokeswoman Ronda Sloan.

In an interview with Pure Politics, Sloan said those Kentuckians aren’t getting booted from being covered. Instead, Sloan said the individuals affected will receive an offer with an alternative plan included in that discontinuation letter. As a result, some might see their insurance costs go up or drop depending on the individual case, Sloan said.

The reason that some plans do not comply with the Affordable Care Act is because of the new essential health benefits that were not previously covered. The law now allows states to choose mandatory coverage of benefits such as maternity care and mental health services in Kentucky. And other areas of care, such as substance abuse treatment, are now required to be covered by all insurance.

Some insurance companies are also facing the discontinuation of plans if those plans previously charged an individual more because of their gender or health issues. For instance, Sloan said in some cases insurance companies were charging women more because they could become pregnant. Determining price for coverage based on gender is no longer allowed.

But this doesn’t mesh with the pledge President Barack Obama gave when the law passed that “if you like your health plan, you can keep it”.

On Wednesday, Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell used personal examples in a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate to illustrate the issues some Americans have faced with the change in policies.

“Take Matthew Fleischer. He’s 34 and recently wrote into the Los Angeles Times to share his experience with Obamacare. Matthew recently found out he’d be one of those 1 million or so Californians losing his health insurance, and he says he’s being funneled into an exchange plan that would drive his premiums up by more than 40%,” McConnell said.

See McConnell’s full remarks here:

McConnell also said every day Americans are seeing “evidence of more Americans losing their health coverage”.

But Sloan said the most common misconception about the changes in policies is that she says people are not losing their coverage, but they are being transitioned.

Jacqueline Pitts

Jacqueline Pitts is the producer of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. In addition to booking guests and pulling all of the information from the field together into a half-hour show, Jacqueline is also a regular contributor to “The Grind.” That’s a weekly segment with the cn|2 political staff to take a closer look at some of the most important, most interesting and often least talked about happenings in Kentucky politics. Jacqueline is from Nashville, but she’s a proud Western Kentucky University graduate. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqueline_cn2. She can be reached at 502-792-1114 or jacqueline.pitts@twcnews.com.

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