Health insurance plans cancelled for over 250,000 Coloradans due to Obamacare overhaul

Some plans didn't meet basic requirements

DENVER - More than 250,000 Coloradans are losing their health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare." That's according to the state Division of Insurance in a count of people on health plans canceled by 23 carriers in the wake of new federal requirements.

In some cases, the insurance plans do not include the benefits that are required by the law as of Jan. 1. In other cases, the companies don't want to write that particular line of business any longer.

"There were a lot of plans out there that were bare bones with limited benefits that didn't offer protection from serious financial ruin," said Vince Plymell, with the Colorado Division of Insurance. "The idea is that the coverage will be improved, and people will have access to that coverage where they didn't before. For example, individuals don't have to worry about pre existing health conditions." 
 
The state agency announced Wednesday that 106,083 people are on individual plans that are being canceled. Approximately 75 percent of those people were covered by the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado and Anthem-affiliate company HMO Colorado, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies reports.

Another 143,116 people are losing insurance plans from the small group market. DORA reports the same two companies covered 76 percent of those people.

DORA also indicates that Kaiser and HMO Colorado offer new plans that would cover these individuals. Some are available through the Connect for Health Colorado exchange, others are available off the exchange.

When a customer's plan is canceled, the provider must send a letter notifying them of the alternative options available under the new law -- including the options available from other companies.

Maria Crago said her individual plan insurance was canceled two months ago, so she sought out a new plan from her employer and found she could get a much better plan for about 37 percent more than she is currently paying.

"Now I have prescription coverage and a much lower co-pay, which means I'll go to the doctor more when I really need to," said Crago. "It's a much better option for me. But still, I don't like the government bullying us into insurance."