Hundreds of thousands of New Jersey residents recently received letters informing them that their health insurance plan would not exist after the first of the year. Why? Because their current plants don’t cover all the benefits mandated by the Affordable Care Act – that is, Obamacare.
The news out of New Jersey directly contradicts what President Obama told a town hall meeting in 2009: “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.” Michelle Malkin used that quote in a National Review Online article under the headline: “Obama Lied, My Health Plan Died.”
Horizon insurance spokesman Thomas Vincz said changes must be made because of the mandates.
“The Affordable Care Act is driving many changes to products and pricing. Horizon BCBSNJ is actively working to help our members find new insurance plans that meet their needs and budget,” Vincz said.
He added, “Due to increasing health care costs and continued federal government cuts to Medicare Advantage, Horizon BCBSNJ had to discontinue certain MA plans, create new plans, and increase premiums, in order to continue to be the only carrier offering MA plans in all 21 counties of New Jersey.”
The Obamacare requirements have caused more than 800,000 New Jersey residents who buy their health insurance via individual and small-employer markets to search for new plans. Aetna is another private sector insurance provides scrambling to create new plans to serve their customers and remain in compliance with the federally mandated health insurance coverage law.
“Aetna has updated its product portfolio for individuals as well as small group customers to ensure our plans were in compliance with the Affordable Care Act and state laws and regulations for 2014,” said Aetna representative Susan Millerick. “Generally speaking, the products will dock to a similar product that will be available in 2014, but there will be some difference in benefits and price.”
Meanwhile, a majority of doctors in a new survey say they are uncertain whether they will participate in the Obamacare exchanges – confirming a prediction made by critics of the system.
The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) poll also showed that a majority of medical practitioners feels that the Obamacare exchanges will have either an unfavorable or very unfavorable impact on their businesses.
Specifically, the survey of 1,000 physician group practices – in which more than 47,500 physicians practice – found that:
- 55.5 percent of respondents say the exchanges will have either a very unfavorable or unfavorable impact on their practice. Only 16.1 percent say it would be very favorable or favorable.
- Only 29.2 percent say they definitely will participate in the exchanges. A total of 40.2 percent are still evaluating whether they will participate, 16.2 percent don’t know and 14.4 percent say they won’t.
- Among those who say they won’t be participating, 64 percent say they have “concerns about the administrative and regulatory burdens related to these products” and 59 percent say participating would “pose a financial risk for our practice.” Another 62 percent say they have concerns about collecting money from patients because of the high deductibles.
- 69.4 percent of those who have seen the exchange payment rates say they are either lower or much lower than what they have received in the past.