There is an article out in the Associated Press that seems to be raising a lot of eyebrows across the internet this morning. Titled, “Like your insurance? You may be losing it,” it explains how a lot of folks who currently have limited benefit health coverage may have to upgrade this coming fall.
This information may seem to fly in the face of what many folks have been told about Obamacare: “If you like your coverage, you can keep it.” While this may still hold true for a lot of folks, the devil – as always – is in the details.
Most health plans that existed before the ACA was signed in March of 2010 were eligible for grandfathered status. This means that they are exempt from having to provide most (but not all) of the comprehensive benefits and consumer protections that the ACA requires. But, if in the past three years or so, the insurer or the employer have made significant changes to a plan’s benefits or how much members have to pay, then the plan would have lost its grandfathered status.
So, there you go.
This should not be cause for panic. Chances are, if your current health plan is a good one, then it probably meets the requirements set forth in the ACA (or has already changed to do so), in which case you are fine. Those who may have to get a new health plan are the folks with non-grandfathered plans that have not changed to meet the new requirements.
This is not a bad thing. Yes, folks might be confused about it at first. Yes, some folks will end up having to pay more. But the new benefits and consumer protections will mean better health insurance and greater financial protections for you when you get sick. And you will get sick.*
The important thing to keep in mind here is that people need to be vigilant of their health insurance. Talk to your HR department and find out if your plan is changing (which may or may not be due to Obamacare). If you buy coverage on your own, just keep an eye out in the mailbox for a notice from your insurer or the Department of Financial Services. If your insurance is being discontinued, and you need help figuring out your options, you can always get free help from Community Health Advocates by calling (888) 614-5400.
*I use the term “sick” catch-all term for any illness or injury (even good ones like childbirth) – physical, mental or dental – or even just plain growing old.