Deborah Cavallaro is the most well-known of all the stories of people who received cancellation letters last week from their health insurers. She did the rounds of cable talk shows explaining how her existing plan was vanishing, and the replacement plan would cost her far more.
But Cavallero is mistaken, writes LA Times reporter Michael Hiltzik. Here's what she told him:
Her current plan, from Anthem Blue Cross, is a catastrophic coverage plan for which she pays $293 a month as an individual policyholder. It requires her to pay a deductible of $5,000 a year and limits her out-of-pocket costs to $8,500 a year. Her plan also limits her to two doctor visits a year, for which she shoulders a copay of $40 each. After that, she pays the whole cost of subsequent visits.
The plan is illegal under Obamacare because "the deductible and out-of-pocket maximums are too high, the provisions for doctor visits too skimpy," writes Hiltzik.
Cavallero has been saying she would have had to pay $478 a month for her new plan, a big hike from her current cost of $293.
But she won't actually pay that, Hiltzik found. She's eligible for a subsidy that would reduce her cost to $333 for a high quality Silver Plan under California's health plan exchange. It would cover all doctor's visits, not just two, with a deductible and out-of-pocket expense that are each thousands of dollars cheaper.
Or, she could get a Bronze Plan for $194 a month with a deductible the same as her current one and a lower out-of-pocket cost, $6,350. Again, there'd be no limit on office visits.
Cavallaro is concerned that the new plans will have smaller networks, which is likely, Hiltzik agrees. But she's wrong to claim that Obamacare means that "for the first time in my whole life, I will be without insurance."
Via the LA Times.