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Obama will allow old health care plans for 1 year

By Meghan Packer, Reporter, MPacker@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 14 2013 09:05:34 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 15 2013 05:35:27 AM CST

President Barack Obama announced what could be a fix for people who aren't happy about losing their health insurance. In his announcement Thrusday, President Obama said insurance companies can continue offering plans that would otherwise be cancelled for at least the next year.

President Barack Obama announced what could be a fix for people who aren't happy about losing their health insurance.

In his announcement Thursday, President Obama said insurance companies can continue offering plans that would otherwise be cancelled for at least the next year.

69 News spoke with insurance industry experts about the president's offer.

"We're still trying to figure out the details. We did listen to the president's announcement," said Aji Abraham, senior vice president of business development at Capital BlueCross.

"The state insurance department has already reached out to us at Capital BlueCross as well as I think a number of the other large insurers in the state of Pennsylvania to figure out what this means for us and our marketplace and our customers," Abraham added.

According to the main insurance industry trade group, America's Health Insurance Plans, President Obama's offer could raise premiums. The group said members have already set premiums for next year assuming many people will move into new markets under the Affordable Care Act.

"Just because President Obama came out and said that they could keep the policies for another year, doesn't mean that the insurance carriers will," said Michael Hitcho, an insurance advisor in the Lehigh Valley.

He owns Hitcho Insurance Agency and focuses on individual and Medicare insurance. He also weighed in on the President's announcement Thursday.

"It's a politician being a very good politician," he said. "For Pennsylvania residents, the majority of folks who have policies, medically underwritten plans, their coverage isn't actually ending until next year anyway."

"Guaranteed issue policy holders, their coverage was set to end at the end of this year, they could keep their policy for next year but again when there's programs and products on the exchange that are more affordable, you would choose the one with lesser premium and probably lesser benefits," explained Hitcho.

This is also personal for Hitcho because he is self-employed.

"Unfortunately when my policy runs out next year I will have to pay approximately 25 percent more money for a policy with less benefits, so I'm not very happy about that," he said.

Hitcho stressed people with Medicare are not losing their plans because of the Affordable Care Act.