THE BLOG
02/27/2014 04:36 pm ET Updated Apr 29, 2014

Good Luck Finding All Those People Who Allegedly ''Lost" Health Insurance

On KNUS's Kelley and Company Feb. 4, Rep. Cory Gardner said:

Gardner (Hear it below.): "I would gladly bring Barack Obama and take him around the state of Colorado, introduce him to the 335,000 Coloradans who lost their health insurance thanks to Barack Obama's bill that Mark Udall passed."

Gardner would have a tough time with these introductions because 335,000 such people do not exist. It's not true that 335,000 Coloradans lost their health insurance thanks to Obamacare.

I wondered how Gardner, who's expected to run for U.S. Senate, could make this egregious mistake, because The Denver Post reported that the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) wrote a letter specifically to Gardner, informing him that 335,000 Coloradans were sent letters stating that their health insurance policies were cancelled. They were advised of other health-insurance options, one of which, for 92 percent of these people, was to renew their existing policies . Or they could choose from other options.

So while some unknown number of people might have "lost" their insurance, the chances that 335,000 did so are basically nil.

I thought, maybe The Post got its facts wrong about the letter to Gardner. So I contacted DORA, and Communications Manager Vincent Plymell confirmed that DORA sent Gardner a letter stating that "92% [of 335,484] were offered the opportunity of early renewal and continue their plans into 2014."

Just to make sure I wasn't missing something in Gardner's logic, I asked Plymell what "early renewal" meant:

Plymell: "'Early renewal' meant that instead of renewing their policies when the policies expired, they could renew early. These would have been non-ACA compliant plans."

Asked via email about the price for the renewals, Plymell wrote, "Some may have been at the same price, but as is common with renewals of policies in general (early or not), many would have been for higher premiums." He added:

Plymell: Remember that for people receiving cancellation letters, they were required to be told by the carriers about all of their options - early renewal, if it was a possibility (and for 92% it was), other plans from that carrier, switching to another carrier, or Connect for Health Colorado. If people didn't like the renewal price, they had other options for coverage in 2014. Also remember that prior to the plans for 2014, people with individual plans (as opposed to employer plans) did not tend to explore those options, because they did not want to have to apply again and go through underwriting, which could mean they could be denied or have their particular conditions excluded. Going into 2014, they could realistically explore those options because they could not be denied for health reasons or have their pre-existing condition excluded from coverage.

So it looks like The Denver Post got it right, while KNUS and Gardner somehow missed the boat.