President Barack Obama

President Obama announced on Thursday that millions of Americans who face cancellations of their existing health plans under the Affordable Care Act can now keep that coverage for another year. We examine what the rule changes may mean for California consumers, and take stock of the state’s rollout of Obamacare.

Patrick Johnston, president and CEO of the California Association of Health Plans
Dana Howard, media and public affairs spokesperson with Covered California
Lisa Aliferis, health editor for KQED News
Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California
Micah Weinberg, senior policy advisor, Bay Area Council

  • John L

    What happened to all those death panels that we were promised?! Way to drop the ball, Obama!

  • Bob Fry

    So the latest Republican tactic is to sabotage the AHCA with sub-standard coverage?

  • Ryan

    I take offense to Obama and even the moderator of this program labeling my individual policy as “not very good,” “inadequate,” or “junk.” My policy suits my needs and was a carefully researched product that I purchased with my needs in mind. The implication that individuals are purchasing plans they don’t or can’t understand is totally imperious. Individuals that have proactively purchased healthcare independent of an employer are quite the opposite of the irresponsible, mindless people Obama casts us as. I understand the need for a group of individuals to subsidize everyone else, but don’t cast judgements on the individual policy holders and force us off our plans to meet your social goals.

    • Bob Fry

      Let’s suppose you’re in your twenties, healthy, and have a good bank account…so you bought a health plan covering only catastrophic coverage with a high deductible, say $5000 per year. That indeed works for you, but not for society which must continue to subsidize (via the ER or the AHCA) others not so fortunate and without your help because you have a greatly discounted policy.

      The best way would have been a slight tax increase on everybody, and single-payer health care, but that’s communistic so a non-starter. ‘Murica!!

  • Bob

    A friend told me recently that his pre-2010 policy, which didn’t qualify under AHC, was cancelled, not because he made a change to the policy, but that the insurance company changed/added an amendment. Is this a valid reason to cancel?

  • Jennifer

    I will be paying more — through Kaiser. The policy is not better (higher annual deductible, higher copays), it is not cheaper (increase between 42% to 56%, the later still has an annual deductible $800 more than my current plan, but similar copays/coverage in categories)

    A) Plan Kaiser is trying to roll me into: $124/month increase or 42% more, but will have less coverage (previous deductible was $$2,700/hr, which will increase to $4,500 — thus I would be paying, with certainty, an additional $1,497 while increasing my exposure by $1,800 ! ) This is a plan that also falls short of my last policy in many categories of coverage — higher co-pays, etc.

    B) Kaiser Plan most similar to my current HSA plan: $162/month increase or 56% more, but have the option of having my $2,700/yr deductible raise to $3,500. Thus paying, with certainty an additional $1,954 with certainty, while increasing my exposure by $800! This plan — for $162/month has similar coverage in most categories as my soon to be cancelled policy with Kaiser.

    This $1,954 will come out of my pocket which I could use to fund my HSA savings account.

    The only “better coverage” offered by the new policy is that it covers pregnancy (I am not having a baby — aged out) and family maximums (I’m single).

    • LF

      Cobra is actually less for us than the ACA and I think that is because we are over 60. With Cobra the risk pool is very young since the employees of the company are in their 20s and 30s. Yeah, its complicated.

    • Vicki

      From what I was hearing from the panelists on this morning’s show, it was only a very small, minute portion of the population who was being affected by the cancellations and the increased premium costs. Imagine my shock at seeing a comment from someone who is, according to the host and his guests, a statistical anomaly. #yesthatssarcasm

  • Howard

    This is the first I’ve heard that all compliant plans must include dental. Does that mean my Kaiser plan will now cover dental? Maybe that’s why the premium is increasing about $100/month.

    • Bob Fry

      Wait, I thought the AHCA didn’t include dental. Maybe a California exception?

  • Vicki

    So if these cancellations are natural and expected (as one of your panel members stated), was the president uninformed when he assured us that “if we liked our plans, we could keep them” or was he just being deceitful?

    • Bob Fry


    • Bill_Woods

      “Or”? We must reject these false choices!

      • Vicki

        I’m open to alternate possibilities, but didn’t notice a checkbox for C.

  • Rob Hough

    My acceptable catastrophic Kaiser plan has doubled in monthly premium cost which is not affordable.

    Apparently healthy older folks less than 65 are not the intended beneficiaries.

  • NoMoreUserNames

    I agree with Ryan’s comments below. The new plans are not necessarily better, and I wish people/the news media would quit saying that they are!! My current plan is actually very comprehensive, but as a result of the ACA that plan will no longer exist, and my insurer offered me an ACA compliant plan that was very substandard and for a higher premium. The new plan is better in just one single way that I could tell, and it may meet the minimum Healthcare Reform guidelines by including bare bones Rx coverage instead of no Rx coverage, but the NEW PLAN IS MUCH, MUCH WORSE in many other ways. I stopped counting at 10 ways that the new plan is worse.
    It’s very obvious insurers are giving us increased premiums and/or decreased coverage to help offset all of the expenses they will incur because of the ACA mandates.

  • Rachel Laws

    Our family was paying $1400 for Kaiser. Under Obamacare we’re paying $650 for the same insurance. We have pre-existing conditions (sciatica) and this increased the insurance. Now, we pay based on our income. What will I do with all of that extra money? I will buy and American (hybrid or electric vehicle)…that can’t be bad for our economy.

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