FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — About 280,000 Kentuckians will have to give up their current insurance policies in the months ahead and enroll in alternatives that comply with the Affordable Care Act, the federal health care reform law.
Kentucky Department of Insurance spokeswoman Ronda Sloan said individual policies for about 130,000 people will be discontinued, as will small group policies for about 150,000 more.
Those affected, Sloan said, will receive discontinuation letters when their policies come up for renewal.
“This is because their current plans do not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act,” Sloan said in an emailed statement. “Instead, they are being transitioned to new ACA-compliant policies. This is not a ‘cancellation’ or a ‘termination.’ No one is losing coverage.”
Tea party activist David Adams, one of the state’s most ardent critics of the Affordable Care Act, said the number of people being forced to give up policies of their choosing is unacceptable.
“They’re likely either coming from a plan that was structured the way they liked it for catastrophic coverage or one of the Cadillac plans they liked,” Adams said. “In any event, they’re now being put into a cookie-cutter machine that is not consumer-friendly.”
Kentucky has been receiving good reviews for its handling of the health care reforms so far. A month into the rollout, more than 31,000 Kentuckians have signed up for medical coverage, the vast majority of whom will become Medicaid recipients. Coverage is set to begin Jan. 1.
Kentucky’s online insurance marketplace has avoided the widespread technical glitches that have plagued the federal health benefit exchange.
As of Oct. 31, more than 345,000 people have visited the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, most of whom have conducted pre-screenings to determine eligibility for Medicaid or government subsidies to help with the cost of private insurance.
Adams said the issue of forcing nearly 300,000 currently insured Kentuckians into different policies “blows Kentucky’s claims of success out of the water.”
Gov. Steve Beshear issued an executive order last year calling for Kentucky to create its online marketplace where residents can shop for insurance coverage. The state received more than $250 million from the federal government to set it up.
Beshear has said four out of five Kentuckians will be eligible federal subsidies to help cover the cost of coverage. Those subsidies, based on income, range from less than $100 to more than $500 a month to help pay premiums.