Nearly 250,000 Coloradans were dropped from their health policies, and an unknown amount of them are because those policies don't meet the federal requirements of the rules outlined in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The state's division of insurance released numbers for the first time on Wednesday revealing that 249,199 Coloradans will have to shop for new insurance after having their policies cancelled on Nov. 1 by 23 health insurance carriers. However, the division did not say exactly how many of the cancelled policies were a direct result of those policies' failure to meet the new standards under Obamacare or were simply a result of regular business decisions by the carriers.
“Consumers who have questions about these letters or any questions about their health insurance policy should contact the Division,” Commissioner of Insurance Marguerite Salazar said in a statement. “While some plans are being cancelled, Coloradoans have many new options for 2014, due to the strength and competitiveness of our health insurance market.”
The nearly quarter-million Coloradans who lost their plans are eligible to enter the state's new insurance exchange or buy new plans that meet ACA requirements. According to Connect for Health Colorado -- the health insurance marketplace set up in the state under Obamacare -- over 37,000 Coloradans have already signed up or been approved for health coverage that takes place Jan. 14, 2014.
"The individual market is a volatile market, and plans come and go all the time," Elisabeth Arenales, health care program director of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, told The Denver Post. "While it's true that some people may wind up paying more, many will pay less."
The cancelled plans of those in the individual market aren't projected to affect even half of the U.S. population. Roughly 80 percent of Americans get health insurance through their employer or are already enrolled in a government program like Medicare or Medicaid, and to them the exchange will mean very little.
But opponents aren't hesitating to capitalize on consumer bewilderment in the insurance marketplace because of President Obama's oft-cited pledge that, “if you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health-care plan, period.”
"When Senator Udall promised Coloradans they could 'keep their plan,' he was either grossly misled by the leadership of his party or he was simply lying," Kelly Maher, spokesperson for the conservative group Compass Colorado, told 9News.
Open enrollment for Connect for Health Colorado will continue through March 31, 2014 and individuals and families can choose from up to 150 private health insurance plans from 10 carriers. Small business employers can create small group plans from up to 92 health insurance plans from six carriers.