Note: See Important Update at the End of this Article!
“You can keep your insurance if you like it” became a popular phrase during the political season leading up to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. The phrase became so tied to healthcare reform that we are often asked this question whenever we discuss the ACA today. The answer is simple: If you liked the plan you had on March 23, 2010, you will be able to keep it. In other words, you can keep your insurance plan in 2014 only if it has already met the Grandfathered Status and you have made no changes since March 23, 2010.
Grandfathered Status plans are those that were in effect on March 23, 2010. They won’t meet the guidelines for today’s plans, but as long as you or your employer made no change in your health insurance plan (such as deductible amounts, copay amounts, maximum out-of-pocket amounts, the amount of the Employer’s contribution, etc.) you are permitted to keep your Grandfathered Plan. You must continue to keep the exact plan in 2014 and beyond in order to “keep your plan if you like it”. In addition, if you have a plan through your employer, the employer must keep the exact plan and make no changes to their contributions to your premiums. It is possible for premium rates to change on Grandfathered Plans.
If your plan has not already met the Grandfathered status, it is likely that you will see some changes when you renew your health insurance. Because the rules imposed on insurance carriers will require their offered plans to be drastically different as of January 1, 2014, most individuals and groups will be moved to a new compliant plan, at new rates, at their first renewal date after January 1, 2014.
The more pertinent question for consumers is: “What will health insurance look like for me and my family in 2014?” Our agents can provide information on how the new plans will be different, what essential benefits will be included and how you and your family can select a plan that best meets your needs.
Nov. 14 UPDATE: President Obama made an announcement today that he will arrange a “fix” that will extend Grandfathered status for an additional year to many plans that were cancelled by the mandates of the ACA legislation. This is extension offered by the Administration does not automatically reinstate cancelled plans, since individual state and the insurance companies of each state must evaluate whether it is possible to reinstate the old policies at this point in time. For those that do, the process will take time and have deadlines for (re)application. Please be sure to talk to your agent about whether this reinstatement is still possible for you and find out what you need to do before the new deadlines.
Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA) information discussed in communications is most accurate as of this date. The Department of Health & Human Services may amend or change federal regulations at any time.