More on Julia Boonstra

Paul Krugman also comments on healthcare horror stories hooey:

by Robert Waldmann

More on Julia Boonstra

Glenn Kessler noted that the latest ad presenting an alleged Obamacare victim doesn’t add up right. Koch funded “Americans for Prosperity” broadcast an advertizement in Michigan in which Julia Boonstra complained that her old insurance was cancelled due to the ACA. Kessler notes that also as a result of the ACA her annual premium is $571 per month instead of $1100 a month.

Boonstra complained about out of pocket expenses.Kessler noted that “under Obamacare, there is an out-of-pocket maximum of $6,350 for an individual plan, after which the insurance plan pays 100 percent of covered benefits.” This means that the maximium cost of the old plan had $0.00 out of pocket would be $2 this year. Of course it didn’t so Boonstra will save money.

I have a question. Why was the old plan cancelled ? The ACA imposes minimum standards for what counts as insurance (although insurance plans people had when the bill was signed are grandfathered). This is clearly needed to make the mandate meaningful. But Boonstra’s old insurance sounds like excellent insurance. How could it not be ACA compliant. I can think of a few possibilities:

1. It is ACA compliant, but ooops the contract is renewable by mutual agreement. Boonstra has leukemia. Obvsiously her old insurance company (and her new one) will lose money insuring her. The old company might have cancelled the policy for that reason only. I assume that the cancellation notice mentioned the ACA. I also assume it was not a sworn affidavit.

2. Her old plan was not ACA compliant for some minor reason (minor in the expected number of dollars paid by the insurance company to care providers). I might even suspect that insurance companies deliberately wrote technically non ACA compliant plans so they would have to cancel them. Then they could offer essentially identical plans at almost the same cost to healthy policy holders. Again the cancellation would be caused by the Leukemia.

3. Her old plan is seriously non ACA compliant (in dollars). For example it might have a lifetime maximum payment to providers. The ACA might have saved Boonstra a lot more money than old out of pocket minus $2.

4. For completeness I have to admit that it is technically possible that the insurance company didn’t cancel the plan at all. It is conceivable that Boonstra cancelled to save the $530 a month and is now complaining. I am sure this isn’t what happened. In any case, I’d be interested in the explanation. I suspect it shows how dangerous it is to trust insurance companies and how vitally important are the ACA regulatory reforms.

lifted from Stochastic thoughts