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November 11, 2013

LYONS: Media misses full health insurance story

(Continued)

From President Obama? Possibly.

More likely, however, from an insurance broker. See, all providers have known about new coverage standards ever since the Affordable Care Act passed in March 2010. Since then, some have clearly been “churning” the market, offering low-risk, healthy customers bargain policies they knew perfectly well would no longer pass muster come Jan. 1, 2014.

So now come the inevitable cancellation letters, and guess what? If they were lucky — and health-wise, the Griffins have been fortunate — here comes the bad news. “We’re buying insurance that we will never use and can’t possibly ever benefit from,” Dean Griffin complains. “We’re basically passing on a benefit to other people who are not otherwise able to buy basic insurance.”

Two thoughts: one, don’t get cocky, you never know.

Two, boo-hoo-hoo. You can afford it.

Meanwhile, Dylan Scott at talkingpointsmemo.com has documented companies sending “misleading letters to consumers, trying to lock them into ... more expensive health insurance plans rather than let them shop for insurance and tax credits on the Obamacare marketplaces.” Authorities in four states have disciplined Humana affiliates for exactly that.

It’s a classic bait and switch: luring customers with unsustainably low rates, and then blaming the White House for their chicanery.

That’s basically why we needed Obamacare to begin with.

Gene Lyons is a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He can be reached at eugenelyons2@yahoo.com.

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