More plan cancellations coming before the elections

Thousands of Americans will see their health plans cancelled before the November elections in a development that could boost critics of ObamaCare. 

The Morning Consult, a Washington-based policy publication, reported that nearly 50,000 people will lose their current health coverage in the coming weeks. 

{mosads}The figure encompasses cancellations announced by insurance departments and providers in Kentucky, Alaska, Tennessee, New Mexico, North Carolina, Maine and Colorado. 

The possible political consequences are clear in states like Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader and leading ObamaCare critic Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is defending his seat against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. 

Nearly 14,000 people in the state are set to lose their health plans, most of which are offered by Humana, the Morning Consult reported. 

Though ObamaCare has receded as a midterm election issue, the cancellations still have the potential to endear some swing voters to McConnell in the tight race. 

ObamaCare created new minimum coverage requirements for health insurance that prompted millions of plan cancellations last year for people on the individual market. 

The Obama administration, responding to the resulting political crisis, allowed insurance companies to continue offering some old policies. But decisions were varied among states and insurers. 

Further cancellations this fall will arrive because state regulators only allowed the “keep your plan” fix to last one year or because insurers decided to stop offering the old policies on their own.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services said the decision on which plans to offer was up to private insurers.

“The Department of Health and Human Services gave insurance commissioners and insurance companies the choice to renew pre-Affordable Care Act health plans until October 2016,” said HHS spokesman Ben Wakana.

“However, as was the case before the Affordable Care Act, private insurance companies operate in a free market: they may choose to discontinue, change, and replace plans so long as they let their enrollees know their options. 

Wakana said some consumers could find better plans through ObamaCare.

“Consumers whose private insurers choose to discontinue their plans may have access to better options through the Health Insurance Marketplace,” he added.

This story was updated at 6:20 p.m.

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