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Millions lose coverage amid health care law transition

1:02 PM, Oct 30, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Millions of people around the country will be opening letters informing them their health care coverage has been terminated.

Experts say it's just the latest bump in the road in the difficult transition to the Affordable Care Act.

"We're in this transition. The old are going out. And that's why people are getting the cancellation notices," said Political Science Professor Larry Jacobs of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Jacobs predicts between four and seven million people may be affected by the cancellations that target those in the individual market -- those who get their insurance on their own or through a small business.

"The large majority of Americans currently get their insurance through their workplace -- that is not affected. If you're on Medicare or Medicaid, you're not affected," Jacobs said, adding that those in the individual markets often experience health insurance changes when "moving back and forth between plans in the normal cycle of things over a one or two-year period."

And Jacobs adds that while there's no question the cancellation notices are "frightening," there's hope for improved coverage down the road.

"My hunch is that this gets worked out, and that we're looking at a situation in the new year where many folks who've gotten these cancellation letters have better policies. They've got a good price and they feel more secure with their insurance," he said.

Bunny Lund of Wilson, Wisconsin, isn't so sure.

"It's just scary. It's really scary," Lund said about the letter she received on Monday from her health insurance company -- Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield -- informing her that she'd been terminated.

Lund's cancellation comes after a difficult 2012, during which her husband lost his job of 21 years and she underwent an emergency surgery to remove her gall bladder. The family just selected a new health insurance plan in January 2013.

"We finally get a decent insurance plan with a decent premium and now it's terminated because of what President Obama is doing," she said.

For her, and millions of others, time alone will tell whether the plan delivers what the administration has promised.

"I will wait and see. It's just really disheartening. It set me in a panic. I can't imagine when it starts hitting everyone else, what kind of panic we're going to have," she said.

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