More Than 200,000 Coloradans Losing Health Insurance Under Obamacare

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DENVER (AP) — More than 200,000 Coloradans are losing their health insurance because of the federal overhaul, the state Division of Insurance reported Thursday in a count of lives on health plans canceled by 23 carriers in the wake of new requirements.

The Division announced Wednesday that 106,083 people are on plans in the individual market that are getting canceled for reasons connected to the federal law.

Another 143,116 people are on canceled plans in the small-group market. They’re being directed to shop for new health insurance on Connect For Health Colorado, the state-run insurance marketplace.

In some cases, the insurance plans do not include the benefits that are required by the law as of Jan. 1. In other cases, the companies don’t want to write that particular line of business any longer.

Seventy-five percent of the people on terminated individual plans in Colorado have coverage through two carriers, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado and Anthem’s HMO Colorado. The carriers are offering dozens of new plans for 2014.

State officials tried to downplay fears as people have gotten letters from their insurers saying their plans are being axed because of new federal mandates.

“While some plans are being canceled, Coloradoans have many new options for 2014, due to the strength and competitiveness of our health insurance market,” Commissioner of Insurance Marguerite Salazar said in a statement Wednesday.

But the assurances haven’t muted disquiet from many who have gotten cancellation letters. Most prominent is U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, a Republican from Yuma who has declined coverage through Congress in favor of the individual market.

During a congressional hearing last week, Gardner scolded Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over the health law’s implementation.

“The White House website says if you like your health care plan you can keep it,” he said. “Did I hear it wrong?”

Another canceled Coloradan is Jim Butterworth of Boulder. His provider, Rocky Mountain Health Plans, is discontinuing Butterworth’s policy even though it appears to comply with new federal insurance regulations. Butterworth’s monthly premium is going from $324.90 to $635.37.

“It gave them an excuse to force me (and others like me) into a plan with a much higher premium,” Butterworth wrote in an email.

Butterworth wrote to U.S. Sen. Mark Udall that he feels “duped and betrayed.”

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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