Medicare Chief: Obamacare Isn’t Responsible for Insurance Plan Cancellations

CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner says it was going on long before the Affordable Care Act.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner prepares to testify before the House Ways and Means Committee.
National Journal
Sophie Novack
Oct. 29, 2013, 7:39 a.m.

Cen­ters for Medi­care and Medi­caid Ser­vices ad­min­is­trat­or Mar­ilyn Taven­ner de­fen­ded Pres­id­ent Obama’s re­peated claim that “if you like your plan, you can keep it” un­der the Af­ford­able Care Act in a House Ways and Means hear­ing Tues­day.

The claim has been at­tacked re­cently, as many people con­tin­ue to re­ceive can­cel­la­tion no­tices from their in­sur­ance com­pan­ies. But Taven­ner ar­gues this was go­ing on be­fore the Af­ford­able Care Act.

“Half of the people in the in­di­vidu­al mar­ket pri­or to 2010 didn’t stay on their policies,” she said. “They were either kicked off for pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions, they saw their premi­ums go up at least 20 per­cent a year, and there were no pro­tec­tions for them. And some­times they were in plans that they thought were fine un­til they ac­tu­ally needed to hos­pit­al­iz­a­tion, and they found out it didn’t cov­er hos­pit­al­iz­a­tion or it didn’t cov­er can­cer.”

The health care law says that any in­sur­ance plans already in ef­fect as of March 23, 2010 are “grand­fathered” un­der the law. Con­sumers can keep those plans without pen­alty, even if they don’t meet all the new ACA re­quire­ments, un­less the in­sur­ance com­pany sig­ni­fic­antly changes part of the plan.

Taven­ner says some can­cel­la­tions are oc­cur­ring as a res­ult of com­pan­ies of­fer­ing new plans, which must then in­clude pro­tec­tions re­quired un­der the law. These in­clude many meas­ures, such as those that pre­vent dis­crim­in­a­tion based on pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions or on gender.

Taven­ner also main­tained that premi­um in­creases were oc­cur­ring long be­fore Obama­care. “In fact, we’ve seen the most premi­um mod­er­a­tion in the last three years than we’ve seen prob­ably in 15 or 20,” she said.

“So what I would tell [in­di­vidu­als] is if their car­ri­er is telling them they’re chan­ging the plan and they’re of­fer­ing an in­crease … they would need to go take a look at what’s avail­able in their state and in their mar­ket, which is cer­tainly something that’s avail­able to them through the ex­change.”

The hear­ing, which fol­lows the prob­lem-plagued rol­lout of the Obama­care web­site, saw Re­pub­lic­ans fiercely at­tack­ing the law and Demo­crats fight­ing to de­fend it, with law­makers of­ten talk­ing more than Taven­ner her­self. Her ap­pear­ance will set the table for a hear­ing Wed­nes­day in which Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Sec­ret­ary Kath­leen Se­beli­us will come be­fore Con­gress.

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 4533) }}

What We're Following See More »
A DARK CLOUD OVER TRUMP?
Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
1 days ago
THE LATEST

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

Source:
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Source:
THE LAST ROUND OF NEW HAMPSHIRE POLLS
Trump Is Still Ahead, but Who’s in Second?
1 days ago
THE LATEST

We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

  • American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
  • A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.
IT’S ALL ABOUT SECOND PLACE
CNN Calls the Primary for Sanders and Trump
16 hours ago
THE LATEST

Well that didn’t take long. CNN has already declared Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump the winners of the New Hampshire primary, leaving the rest of the candidates to fight for the scraps. Five minutes later, the Associated Press echoed CNN’s call.

Source:
×