Daily Dispatches
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina employee Lew Borman, left, helps a customer outside a trailer at the downtown farmer's market in Raleigh, N.C.
Associated Press/Photo by Gerry Broome
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina employee Lew Borman, left, helps a customer outside a trailer at the downtown farmer's market in Raleigh, N.C.

Obamacare annuls more plans than it approves

Healthcare

George Schwab, 62, paid $228 per month for his family’s $10,000-deductible health insurance plan. But it didn’t meet the Affordable Care Act’s new standards. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina cancelled his plan and suggested he consider “comparable” coverage costing $1,208 per month. 

Schwab’s case, reported by the Charlotte Observer, isn’t uncommon. In fact, Forbes' Josh Archambault claims Obamacare has caused more people in three states to lose their insurance than it newly insured in all 50 states combined. 

Obamacare requires all plans to cover 10 essential needs. For example, even single men have to pay for maternity and pediatric care. This spells trouble for those who buy on the individual market. Consumers with unqualified plans are losing their insurance if the policies have changed since March 2010. 

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That brings us to Florida, Pennsylvania, and California, via Kaiser Health News, which reports that Florida Blue, is terminating about 300,000 policies—80 percent of its individual policies in the state. Kaiser Permanente in California plans to terminate about 160,000 policies—roughly half its individual business in the state. 

Pennsylvania’s Highmark and Independence Blue Cross are cancelling 20 percent and 45 percent of their individual market customers, respectively. That’s more than 500,000 policies in those states alone.

So far, the Obama administration’s been tight lipped about how many people have actually signed up for new coverage under Obamacare, a process hampered by rampant problems with the exchange website. The most officials will say is that 476,000 “applications have been filed.” But here’s the catch: Generally, people can’t shop the healthcare exchange and see prices without applying. And Forbes suspects some states are reporting both exchange and Medicaid enrollees together, boosting the numbers. 

Washington and Kentucky created their own exchanges and have been relatively transparent with their numbers. Of those who created website accounts in those states, about two-thirds applied to find out their subsidies—and only one-third actually enrolled. Apply those percentages to the national number and probably only 180,000 have actually enrolled. About 90,000 of those would be on the federal exchange, out of 19 million visitors to Healthcare.gov this month. 

For what it’s worth, the New Republic looked at the Massachusetts system that Obamacare is somewhat modeled after: Less than 1 percent signed up during the first month. People generally waited until closer to the imposition of penalties to buy their policies. 

Still, the number of people losing coverage is significant. Half of non-group policies don’t meet Obamacare’s standards, and estimates of nationwide current or future cancellations range from millions to tens of millions. Even liberal media outlets are acknowledging President Barack Obama made a bogus promise when he said people could keep their existing plans. 

“That’s one thing that really bothers me about all of this,” Chris Blount, a Blue Cross agent with Piedmont Benefits Group in Charlotte, told the Charlotte Observer. “He didn’t just say it once. He said it a lot.”

Andrew Branch
Andrew Branch

Andrew is a freelance writer living in Raleigh, N.C. He was homeschooled for 12 years and recently graduated from N.C. State University. He writes about sports and poverty for WORLD. Follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewABranch.

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