IBX cancels 24,000 plans that don’t meet Affordable Care Act rules

    Independence Blue Cross has sent out cancellation notices to 24,000 members in the Philadelphia region whose insurance plans do not comply with new rules under the Affordable Care Act.

    According to Kaiser Health News, the plan cancellations are part of a national trend.

    The cancellations were sent to about half of the Independence Blue Cross individual plan members in the Philadelphia region who purchase insurance on their own because they don’t get it through work.

    Barry Glickstein, who has had the Keystone Plan since he was 18, is one of them. He said he’s paying $585 a month and hasn’t signed up for a new plan under the Affordable Care Act because the online system is in disarray. He said he’s also struggling to get clear information about the new plans.

    “I had absolutely no thought ever of changing my plan at all, period. I was going to keep the same plan as long as I lived,” Glickstein said. “I’m on different medications for my health and at this point, I don’t even know what’s going.”

    While the transition is a source of confusion, many members will have better coverage at lower rates under new plans, according to Paula Sunshine, vice president of Independence Blue Cross.

    “When a policy expires that doesn’t meet the requirements of the new Affordable Care Act, then it has to be replaced and so that’s what’s happening here,” she said. “What we’re trying to do, desperately, is make sure we’re communicating with every one of these members in as many touches as we can, to get them into a policy that’s going to meet their needs.”

    The 24,000 members who received cancellation notices are guaranteed issue members, meaning they’re eligible by law for coverage despite any pre-existing conditions. Aetna is also sending similar cancellation notices.

    Disclosure: Independence Blue Cross supports WHYY.

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