Plan cancellations: 'Lie of the year' is a PR cash cow

PolitiFact has named President Barack Obama's promise that Americans who liked their insurance could keep it as the "lie of the year" for 2013. Cancellation letters hitting approximately millions of Americans followed by a public presidential apology secured the dubious award.

Obama did note that although insurers are canceling some plans, it's because healthcare reform is weeding out "bad apple" insurers. Those insurers were offering substandard plans didn't meet basic standards mandated under the reform law.

And Affordable Care Act drafters argued the previously-sold policies were almost worse than no coverage at all if they allowed consumers to go bankrupt from catastrophic illness, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Even though Obama allowed insurers to reinstate canceled policies, some insurers have chosen to move forward with their cancellations as backtracking would raise costs and increase risks.

Moreover, a November report by the consumer organization Families USA found plan cancellations will hurt few Americans: Only 0.6 percent of Americans under 65 may lose their insurance and not qualify for financial aid to replace it with Affordable Care Act-compliant coverage.

As the controversy continues, public relations firms are profiting from the cancellation mess and other aspects of the botched ACA rollout, Politico reported.

"This will be taught in a lot of business and marketing courses, and probably just as importantly in a lot of technology courses on how do you launch a new product. You certainly don't do it like this," Marlin Collingwood, the president of Boston-based CHT, told Politico.

Several experts pointed to the Obama administration missing several crisis communications must-dos: quickly owning up to problems, touting healthcare success stories and appointing an effective reform spokesperson, the article noted.

For more:
- check out the PolitiFact piece
- here's the Politico article

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