To the Editor:
Re: Effect of the Affordable Care Act on individual health insurance.
An issue of crucial importance is the way the ACA has been interpreted to force renewable individual health policies owned by millions of citizens, often self-employed or contract workers, to drop their coverage of choice and be forced into the ACA. The president’s promise, going back to when this was passed, was that no one would lose their coverage if they did not want to.
I know that many health insurance policies are guaranteed renewable until age 65. The policyholder can expect to be able to maintain that policy until that age. This is a valuable feature. People who purchase this expect it. States regulate insurance and make sure the contract is honored.
There are numerous cases where companies have been forced to honor a material misrepresentation made by an authoritative source (agent or company present). If the ACA were under state law, the state insurance department could force the company to honor what was promised.
Millions of Americans clearly thought they could keep their insurance. The proposed fix (allowing renewal one more year) is not a fix at all for those with guaranteed renewable policies. Right now, people feel cheated. The media coverage of this leads me to believe that the significance of the guaranteed renewability has not been perceived.
I am writing to inform people that they can contact their congressman (Peter Roskam 202-225-2561 or Randy Hultgren 202-225-2976) and ask them to pass clarifying legislation acknowledging the right of people to keep their policies.