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Insurance cancellations and Obama's health care law: 2 different views

By Carla K. Johnson

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Nov. 9 2013 6:05 p.m. MST

Why did insurers choose to grandfather some plans but not others? What I would speculate is obvious: The non-grandfathered plans were not viewed as profitable.

Q: What did your research show about the health plans available on the individual market in 2010?

A: We found that the majority — about 51 percent — of Americans were enrolled in plans that did not meet (the new law's requirements). In other words, they were covered by plans that paid less than 60 percent of the medical expenses for a standard population. We called them "tin plans."

Q: Tin plans?

A: I think of tin as being flimsy. These plans don't offer much financial protection.

Q: But weren't people happy with these plans?

A: People will like their plan until that moment they become sick and they discover it doesn't cover certain benefits, or what it pays is grossly limited, or it doesn't cover the doctor they want to see.

Q: What did your research show about the difference between insurance provided by employers and insurance bought by individuals in 2010?

A: Most employer-based health insurance was covering 80 to 89 percent of medical expenses for a standard population. ... That means you were far less likely to go bankrupt with employer-sponsored health insurance.

Q: What's your reaction to so many Americans receiving cancellation notices?

A: We have such a byzantine system for health insurance. The (president's) Affordable Care Act tried to make it kinder and gentler, but it is incredibly complex.

I am surprised people are romanticizing the individual insurance market as it was. ... If you really needed health coverage, if you really were sick, you couldn't get it.

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