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In California, Some Happy About Canceled Insurance

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After getting the cancellation notice, Wilsbach checked out plans on the Covered California website and he was pleasantly surprised. He found a plan for the whole family that offers broader coverage, a much lower $4,000 deductible and a more affordable monthly premium. 

“Our premium went down, not quite 100 bucks, and just looking through what the plan covers versus what used to be covered, yeah, I'm quite happy about it,” Wilsbach says.

Jane Bradford, 52, is a stay-at-home mom in Pasadena. She’s losing the HMO insurance she has for herself and her three kids, who are 16, 21 and 23. Her policy offers low co-pays for doctor visits and a relatively low $3,000 family deductible, but she'll shed no tears to see it go. Bradford says that's because she's found several plans that will cost hundreds less in monthly premiums - even though her husband's income is too high for the family to qualify for a federal subsidy. 

“Saving possibly $400 or more a month is awesome, so I'm not sad at all,” Bradford says. 

None of this comes as a surprise to Micah Weinberg, a senior researcher at the Bay Area Council Economic Institute in San Francisco. 

“A lot of the anecdotes about people having policies cancelled and gigantic increases are real but not representative of what's happening more broadly in the marketplace,” Weinberg says.

Weinberg predicts many people who are losing their policies will come out ahead -- even if their premiums go up --  because of lower deductibles, full coverage of preventive care and no penalties for preexisting conditions. What’s more, he says, health insurance will almost certainly be cheaper for those who qualify for subsidies - in California, that's an estimated 1.9 million people.

This story is part of a partnership that includes NPR, Southern California Public Radio, and Kaiser Health News.

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communications organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Sun, Nov 24 2013

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