President Obama portrayed the insurance plan cancellations caused by his health care law as a problem facing a small individual market, but insurance companies are dropping group plans as well.
"The other problem that has received a lot of attention concerns Americans who have received letters from their insurers that they may be losing the plans they bought in the old individual market, often because they no longer meet the law’s requirements to cover basic benefits like prescription drugs or doctors’ visits," Obama said at a Thursday press conference.
When pressed about whether he misled people regarding how Obamacare would affect their current insurance plans, the president said that he made a mistake that only affected a small percentage of people.
"Keep in mind that the individual market accounts for 5 percent of the population," Obama said.
The problem is broader than Obama said, as city workers in Bel Aire, Kan., learned last month. "Because of health care reform provisions, the availability of our product offerings had to change," Blue Cross Blue Shield wrote in an Oct. 24 cancellation notice. "As a result, effective Jan. 1, 2014, your current group health benefit package will no longer be available at renewal -- but we are here to help you switch to another high quality benefit plan."
The alternative plans are not as good and cost more than the pre-Obamacare policy. "I simply wanted you to know the pain this is causing me and my staff in losing the terrific health coverage we had through Blue Cross Blue Shield in exchange for worse coverage at a higher price," Bel Aire, Kan., City Manager Ty Lasher wrote in an email this week to Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan.
If enough employees decide to seek more affordable insurance elsewhere, the rest of the city workers may be forced into Obamacare.
"[W]e were told if more than 25 percent of our ineligible employees choose to go elsewhere for their insurance, they will drop us, and all of our employees will have to go to the insurance exchange," Lasher wrote.