November 14, 2013, 01:39 pm
Insurers: Obama's fix could cause chaos
By Jonathan Easley
President Obama’s proposal to help people keep their existing health plans for a year could cause marketplace chaos, according to the nation’s largest trade group for insurance companies.
America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) President and CEO Karen Ignagni also said the plan could hit consumers.
“Changing the rules after health plans have already met the requirements of the law could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers,” she said.
The president’s proposal seeks to quell the growing outcry over millions of insurance plans canceled under ObamaCare — despite the president’s promise that if you like your healthcare plan you can keep it
Nearly five million people have seen their policies canceled, according to a report in Forbes. The cancellations came because the old plans didn’t meet the minimum requirements under the new law.
AHIP also opposes legislation offered in the House and Senate that would allow people to keep their plans.
They have warned legislation in both chambers of Congress would provoke an administrative fiasco and could have serious implications for the new marketplace’s risk pool, premium prices and the cost of the law to the federal government.
“Premiums have already been set for next year based on an assumption of when consumers will be transitioning to the new marketplace,” Ignagni continued. “If now fewer younger and healthier people choose to purchase coverage in the exchange, premiums will increase and there will be fewer choices for consumers.”
The Obama proposal comes a day before the House is scheduled to vote on a Republican bill that would allow insurance companies the option of offering old healthcare plans is gaining dozens of co-sponsors ahead of a vote this week.
The White House has said it opposes that bill because it permits insurers to continue to provide low-quality coverage to new consumers and those with existing plans.
AHIP on Thursday criticized Obama’s proposed fix for the same reason.
“Making sure consumers have secure, affordable coverage is health plans' top priority,” Ignagni said. “The only reason consumers are getting notices about their current coverage changing is because the ACA requires all policies to cover a broad range of benefits that go beyond what many people choose to purchase today.”