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Statement on White House Plan for Canceled Policies

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) issued the following statement in support of the Obama Administration’s proposal to address insurance companies’ cancellations of certain policies for consumers in the individual and small-group insurance markets:

“In some cases, the grandfathering provision of the Affordable Care Act did not protect consumers from insurance companies’ decisions to cancel policies, and this change will help fix that,” Congressman Yarmuth said. “At the same time, consumers should know that those policies do not guarantee them the new protections the law offers, meaning they could still be denied insurance renewal because of a pre-existing condition, face medical bankruptcy due to annual and lifetime limits, or face higher premiums because of their gender or health status.

“This fix guarantees that nothing in the law will require an insurance company to change any policy it is currently offering. However, as with the previous grandfathering provision, the federal government cannot force an insurance company to sell a policy if it chooses not to.”

The President’s proposal would allow insurers to offer consumers the option to renew their 2013 health plans for 2014, without change. If insurers choose to continue offering those plans, they would be required to notify enrollees that they can purchase coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, where they may qualify for tax credits and premium support to help cover the cost of insurance.

More than four out of five currently uninsured Kentuckians are eligible for reduced premiums under the law. As of November 8, nearly 41,000 Kentuckians had enrolled in new health coverage through kynect, the state’s new insurance marketplace.

Insurers must also tell consumers which new protections they are forfeiting by renewing their old plans. Prior to enactment of the Affordable Care Act, more than 60 percent of all U.S. bankruptcies were a result of illness and medical bills, and nearly 80 percent of those who filed for medical bankruptcy were insured.