Update and Correction:
Steve Buckstein, policy analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute recently pointed out that the story, as reported by KGW, was incorrect in their assertion that individuals would have until November 22nd, 2013 to inform the state whether they intended to keep their plan. The site has since fixed the error, clarifying that it is the insurance companies themselves that need to do this.
As far as individuals needing to report whether they want to keep their plan, it is uncertain whether individuals will need to report to the state or Cover Oregon to keep their cancelled plan. It is recommended that individuals facing cancellation contact their insurance provider and remind them to contact the State of Oregon before Friday, November 22nd.
Buckstein, in a comment on the incorrect article, observed that “even though it’s not quite as bad as it could have been, for most people this is still a great insight into the incompetence of government and a warning not to let government run anything that’s so important to our lives.”
Original Story: Across the nation, massive controversy was spawned when a promise made by nation’s president and other public servants in favor of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) that, if Americans liked the insurance plan, they had they could keep it, was proven to be false. In Oregon alone, 150,000 people found their insurance plans facing impending cancellation due to the plan being “nonconforming” to ACA standards.
Now, in the wake of public blowback, healthcare exchanges across the nation, including Oregon’s own healthcare marketplace Cover Oregon, are scrambling to do damage control, and have agreed to allow private citizens the right to renew their plans – at least, on a limited basis. However, the offer only allows five days for Oregonians to inform Cover Oregon about their intent, ending on November 22nd, 2013. This is made much more difficult due to the fact that neither Cover Oregon nor the mainstream Oregon news stations are particularly concerned about mentioning this any more than they need to.
The article is not displayed anywhere on the front page of the websites for KGW, KOIN, KATU, The Oregonian, and The Statesman Journal. It has been buried by the news cycle. This is very inconvenient for many, who will likely not hear about the potential to keep the insurance plan they liked until it is too late to do anything about it.
This lackluster exception barely solves the insurance problem and it also is a gross violation of personal liberty following the same thought as the initial controversy.
The question is raised: why is it the government’s decision what plans can and can not be purchased by a private citizen? If a private citizen feels that they only need a small amount of health insurance – perhaps a catastrophic insurance plan – but it is deemed “nonconforming” and “unsatisfactory” by the federal government, why does that government have the override capability to instead determine the needs of that private citizen for them?
There is a large difference between a healthcare plan that controls the healthcare decisions of American citizens and a plan that provides insurance for those who have been going without. The American Healthcare Reform Act, revealed in September 2013 during the government shutdown debacle, attempted to do this. Some claim it was too late.
Regardless, the abject failure of Cover Oregon to register even a single person, despite 18,000 backed up paper applications (due to an inoperable website), the similar nationwide chaos with the other state-based exchanges, and the new revelations that “keep your plan” was a marketing tactic and not a truthful statement suggest that maybe later is better than never.
For now, it remains to be seen whether the “limited” quantifier on the healthcare exchanges’ decision to hold to their initial promise will lead to a withdrawal of citizen rights in the future. If you want to keep your plan, you need to contact your state’s healthcare exchange by Friday, November 22nd, 2013. Make sure you insist on confirmation that your plan will be kept – with the reluctance of the exchanges to make an effort to promote this, anything is possible.
You can contact your healthcare exchange in a number of ways to tell them that you like your plan and want to keep it, just like they said.
Oregon – Cover Oregon
Washington State – Washington Health Benefit Exchange
Idaho – Your Health Idaho
It is recommended that you call Cover Oregon, due to their website remaining inoperable.
h/t Ben Nanke at WatchdogWire.com