By CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta
(CNN) — The vast majority of Americans on the individual insurance market will see modifications to their existing plans, or even cancellations, according to an insurance industry source.
That raises questions about repeated claims made by President Barack Obama reassuring consumers that if they like their current plan, they can keep it.
“If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan,” the president said in August, 2009 at a town hall meeting as the debate over Obamacare was heating up.
But the reality, according to an insurance industry source with knowledge of the implementation of Obamacare, is that many Americans, especially those with high deductible, catastrophic care policies will see drastic changes.
As new minimum requirements for their plans take effect next year, modifications and even cancellations may become necessary for those and other consumers, the industry source said. Some plans are going to be so different, the source added it may be easier to cancel those policies and then offer new coverage under Obamacare, which is formally known as the Affordable Care Act.
In many cases those policies will offer greater coverage, but at a higher price.
“Starting next year, all policies are required to cover a broad range of benefits, some of which are not in plans consumers choose to purchase today,” said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans. “There’s going to be a wide variation of impacts.”
“For some people, the coverage they have today is going to be changed to cover the new requirements,” Zirkelbach said.
But unlike the pre-Obamacare era, consumers who receive cancellations now have options. They will, in theory, be able to buy coverage under Obamacare and in some cases receive subsidies, Zirkelbach said.
White House officials maintain they have always said some health care plans would not meet new Obamacare requirements.
“There are existing health care plans on the individual market that don’t meet those minimum standards and therefore do not qualify for the Affordable Care Act,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday. “There are some that can be grandfathered if people want to keep insurance that’s substandard.”
Carney argued the new coverage offered under the Affordable Care Act will be an improvement for consumers who see changes to their current plans.
“This is qualitatively better insurance coverage than what was available in many cases to Americans around the country,” Carney said.
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