Six months into his presidency, Barack Obama promised that his proposed health reforms wouldn’t force people who were happy with their insurance to change. “If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period,” he said. But hundreds of thousands of people are finding out that’s not the case. Insurance companies are terminating policies for many people whose insurance doesn’t meet the standards of the new health law. Here’s what you need to know:
Why is this happening?
The Affordable Care Act sets standards that private insurance companies must follow. Health plans must pay for at least 60 percent of their members’ medical costs on average. They also have to provide 10 areas of coverage, called essential health benefits, such as hospitalization, mental health treatment, and maternity care. Plans that don’t meet these standards generally can’t be sold after 2013, unless they’re grandfathered (more on that below). Insurers are ending these plans and pushing people to buy more comprehensive policies, some of which may also have higher premiums. For low- and middle-income people, the law provides subsidies to make health coverage more affordable.