East Texans could face cancellation of insurance plans - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

East Texans could face cancellation of insurance plans

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The Affordable Care Act goes into effect in fewer than two months, but many East Texans are already being told their plans can no longer be offered under the new laws.

It's a stark contrast from the now infamous line from President Barack Obama.

"If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan," he said while touting the reforms after their passage in 2010.

But local experts said that's not the case.

"In 2014, your plan, if it's not grandfathered, it will be changed," said Wendy Bratteli of the Texas Association of Health Underwriters. "Your current policy is going to cancel. You will not keep your plan if you liked it. You will not keep your premium if you liked it."

In order to have grandfather status, consumers can not have made any changes to their plans since the bill was signed into law in 2010. That includes any changes to deductibles or premiums companies charged their employees.

That big nuance has left nearly four million people nationwide reporting their plans have been canceled.

But for those currently looking at renewals, insurance companies are offering a temporary loophole.

For one East Texas business, if they enroll on December 1, one month prior to the Affordable Care Act going into effect, their cost for insurance increases 15%. But that plan does not comply with the Affordable Care Act and therefore will only last for one more year.

"It's kicking the can down the road basically for the consumer," Bratteli said.

The other option is to sign up on a compliant plan that begins January 1. For the same East Texas business, that plan would be a 45% increase compared to their current monthly rate.

Bratteli said that will likely be the norm under the new law.

"It's probably going to be a sticker shock for, I would say, about 70% of the population is going to see increases," she said.

Beginning in January, it will no longer be an option. Individuals must be enrolled in an insurance program by March 31, 2014. After that date, consumers will face a penalty of whichever is greater: $95 per person or one percent of their income for the first year.

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