Canceled Insurance Policies Could Be a Plus for New Markets

By The | Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque), November 8, 2013 | Go to article overview

Canceled Insurance Policies Could Be a Plus for New Markets


The, Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque)


WASHINGTON - Insurance cancellations are fueling a political backlash against President Barack Obama and Democrats supporting his health care overhaul, but there may yet be a silver lining as far as the law itself.

It's Economics 101, a little-noticed consequence of a controversial policy decision. And there are winners and losers.

Millions of people who currently buy their own health insurance coverage are losing it next year because their plans don't meet requirements of the health care law. But experts say the resulting shift of those people into the new health insurance markets under Obama's law would bring in customers already known to insurers, reducing the overall financial risks for each state's insurance pool.

That's painful for those who end up paying higher premiums for upgraded policies. But it could save money for the taxpayers who are subsidizing the new coverage.

Compared to the uninsured, people with coverage are less likely to have a pent-up need for medical services, he explained. For example, they might already have had that knee replacement instead of hobbling around on a cane.

At some point, all these customers had to pass extensive medical screening that insurers traditionally use to screen out people with health problems. Such filtering will no longer be allowed starting next year, and a sizable share of the uninsured people expected to gain coverage under Obama's law have health problems that has kept them from getting coverage. They'll be the costly cases.

The new plans under Obama's law generally guarantee a broader set of basic benefits and provide stronger financial protection in cases of catastrophic illness. …

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