January 02, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Some insurance companies hiding competition in new healthcare marketplace
The rollout and implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act has been a complicated and confusing process to many people. The idea behind the new healthcare law is:
- Everyone must participate in obtaining insurance (the "insurance mandate")
-The creation of a health insurance marketplace, in which consumers can compare insurance plans they qualify for in an open market
-People who cannot afford health insurance premiums will receive help from the government in the form of vouchers and tax credits
The theory behind the new law is that with more people in the market and with transparent competition, insurance premiums would be manageable while everyone could receive healthcare.
The new law (ACA, or Obamacare) is primarily targeted at people who are self-employed or between jobs, as well as small business owners and employees. Government employees and employees of large companies are largely unaffected, and people already on Medicare and Medicaid would remain on those plans. The ACA also contains other provisions regarding health insurance policies, such as the inability for insurance companies to deny people because of a pre-existing medical condition. The ACA also requires certain minimum coverage on insurance policies.
Insurance companies have looked closely at the new law and how it affects their bottom line. Several important items stick out:
-In order for the plan to work, healthy people must sign up for insurance as well as sick people, in order for insurance companies to be able to cover costs
-Insurance companies who already have healthy, insured people have the incentive to retain these people; new, healthy customers are also attractive
-People with previous coverage that no longer meets ACA standards must find new insurance
Federal regulators have now accused some insurance companies of attempting to grab healthy customers at a higher premium than they would get on the marketplace. In some cases, insurers sent letters that hid or intentionally confused their customers about their options. For example, The Wall Street Journal recently reported
that insurance companies, including Humana, BlueCross and BlueShield, and Aetna may have warned their customers of big rate hikes unless they renewed their policies before the big October 1 rollout of the insurance marketplace.
This might have been misleading or outright false. The letters the insurance companies sent, in some cases, neglected to mention that their customers could look at the insurance marketplace to compare the prices of other, similar insurance policies once their previous policy lapsed.
Insurance companies also wrote to customers that their insurance policies would cancel under Obamacare; technically true, but these customers may also have had the option of purchasing similar policies that met ACA standards on the open market, in some cases with lower premiums and better coverage.
Because of previous misleading tactics, some consumers
have been able to opt out of their agreements with insurance companies in order to pursue insurance on the open marketplace. While individual circumstances vary greatly, in some cases people have saved tens of thousands of dollars by opting out of their previous policies.
People who believe they were fraudulently tricked into purchasing a health insurance policy under the ACA with higher premiums than necessary should contact an experienced consumer protection law firm with questions.
Article provided by Nacht Law
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