Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Canceled health plans? What's really happening.

There's been a lot of news lately about insurers cancelling some health plans and changing others. Consumers have been getting the word through  'discontinuation' notices.

So what's really going on? This is happening in the individual market - where people who don't get coverage from their employer - buy their own health plans.   Most likely, the existing plans being canceled or changed, failed to meet new federal standards for benefits.  The reality about most of these previous plans is that they provided extremely limited benefits - no maternity care or coverage for prescription drugs, for example.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, plans must provide everyone basic essential benefits, such as maternity care, prescription drug coverage and mental health services.  And no longer can insurance companies ask you about previous illnesses you may have had. They must accept everyone.

Premiums will change for some plans. But if you received a notice from your insurance company, it does not mean you have to stay with whatever they offer. You can shop around for plans, either in the new Exchange - www.wahealthplanfinder.org or from insurers selling outside of the Exchange.

Here's a map of all individual plans available by county.

For more details about insurers cancelling policies, check out this piece by Kaiser Health News.