Plan cancellations to hurt few Americans

In the midst of controversy about canceled plans and their reinstatement comes a new report by the consumer organization Families USA: Only 0.6 percent of Americans under 65--about 1.5 million people out of 267 million--may lose their insurance and not qualify for financial aid to replace it with Affordable Care Act-compliant coverage.

Among the 5.7 percent of Americans insured in the individual market, 29 percent have family incomes above 400 percent of the federal poverty level and are therefore ineligible for tax subsidies, and only one-third of those are expected to stay in the individual market for more than a year. So only 0.6 percent of individual market insured Americans may lose their existing plans and not get financial help to replace them, the report found.

"Although President Obama was right to express his concern about, and to propose corrective action for, the people at risk of losing health coverage due to the Affordable Care Act, it is important to keep a perspective about the small portion of the population that might be adversely affected," Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack said yesterday in an announcement.

That small portion has been visible and vocal: Lawsuits have been filed in California over the cancelations, and President Barack Obama apologized to Americans for canceled plans. Further, Democrats threatened to withdraw their support of healthcare reform unless Obama kept his word that Americans who liked their health plans could keep them.

Individual plans cover about 15.2 million people, or 5.7 percent of the non-elderly U.S. population, and 71 percent of that population will qualify for reform subsidies or expanded Medicaid coverage, according to the report.

"The overwhelming majority of those people will obtain more affordable coverage under the healthcare law because they will be income-eligible for financial assistance to help pay for comprehensive insurance at a lower cost," the report concluded.   

For more:
- read the Families USA announcement and report

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