Insurers Misled Customers on ObamaCare: Report
Hid benefits from customers, says Talking Points Memo
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2013 4:57 PM CST
An unidentified person clasps his hands as a representative for Marketplace Nebraska, a health insurance broker under the new Affordable Care Act, explains the health insurance enrollment process.   (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

(Newser) – Insurers nationwide are scrambling to retain customers who might ditch them for a better plan through the ObamaCare marketplace—and some have engaged in questionable practices to do so. Talking Points Memo has identified several instances of insurers contacting customers to tell them their current policies are expiring, and encouraging them to sign on for new, sometimes higher-priced ones before the marketplaces launched in October. In one case, a woman in Seattle received a letter saying the insurer had found a new plan for her, and if it didn't hear from her, she would be rolled over to this new policy. "If you're happy with this plan, do nothing," LifeWise of Washington wrote.

What LifeWise didn't mention was that the new policy would cost her $300 more a month—or that she had much better options available to her on the insurance exchange. When she visited the marketplace, she found a cheaper plan and a number of new tax credits for which her family was eligible. In all, she saved $1,000 a month compared with the new plan the LifeWise had tried to sign her on to. Insurers say it's just business, but regulators are not impressed. Last month, Humana was fined $65,000 for sending similar letters in Kentucky, and also got a slap on the wrist in Colorado. "The letter appeared threatening," says a spokesman for Colorado's insurance division. "You've got to let people know their options. You can't make it seem like they have to stick with your company."

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Guillermo
Nov 7, 2013 9:19 AM CST
Ah yes, the capitalist system. Isn't it wonderful?
Ezekiel 25:17
Nov 6, 2013 8:16 PM CST
Don't worry, most people will take out the Bronze Plan. It has a $6395 trigger before it even starts to pay out any claims. Its designed for people making less than $18,000. Since that is most of the entitlement recipients, we shouldn't worry so much unless these people have more than $6395 in bills. On the other hand, with all the Ring Dings, Little Debbie snacks, bread, sugar cereals, and fatty meats these people buy on SNAP, they most likely will have diabetes and heart disease. So thinking on that term, Obama needs 2 million people to be totally healthy and NOT ON SNAP. They need to be people who eat steamed veggies and walk 3 miles a day. Quite frankly I think he's smoking his aunt's bong if he thinks that will work.
Lefty_Libby
Nov 5, 2013 12:38 PM CST
The following is from The Tampa Bay Times (tampabay.com). One can only wonder what mischief the GOP is up to in Florida. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Fla. Republicans defend hands-off approach on federal health care Tuesday, November 5, 2013 TALLAHASSEE — Republican lawmakers are fighting back against criticism that their hands-off approach to the federal health care law is leaving consumers vulnerable. And they reject accusations that the law preventing the state from regulating health insurance rates for two years was based on faulty or misleading information. Democrats and consumer groups raised red flags but were unable to dramatically alter Senate Bill 1842, which passed with most Democrats and just one Republican voting no. Florida forfeited its ability to regulate rates for plans listed on the health exchange even though the federal government doesn't have the power to deny rate increases. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said last week that she was "baffled" by the state's actions. She said she didn't know of any other state that relaxed its oversight and that most were beefing up insurance regulations. "If lawmakers are saying that they knew what they were doing when they passed the bill, then they knowingly passed a bill that strips vital consumer protections and misleads Floridians." The feds don't have rate making authority, and the law didn't anticipate states suspending their rate approval functions as Florida has.