END OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD (41 states)

Time: D H M S

BREAKING: Companies occasionally discontinue products and/or services for various reasons!

I've discussed the "OMG!! ELEVENTYBILLION POLICIES CANCELLED!!" issue many times before.

In the past, I've pointed out that the actual number of policies which were cancelled last year due to not being compliant with ACA requirements was far, far less than the 5, 6 or 7 million that people were hollering about. In the end it appears to only have been around 1-2 million at most, with the rest being extended by 1, 2 or 3 years via President Obama/HHS's "waiver/grandfathering" allowance.

Of course, that does mean that there will be another chunk of policies cancelled this year, and a smaller number next year, with perhaps a handful left over for 2016...at which point everyone should be on a fully ACA-compliant Qualified Health Plan (QHP).

President Obama took a whole bunch of heat over his "If you like your policy, you can keep it!" statement, and in response to the backlash had HHS allow the individual states to extend "pre-existing" noncompliant policies by a year. Then, a few months later, they basically said "screw it" and said the states could let insurance companies keep those polcies around for 2-3 years if they wished. Some states did so; some didn't. Some companies bumped out the policies by one year, some by two and some by three.

As a result, the noncompliant policies are being spread out over 3-4 years instead of tearing the band-aid off all at once. Perhaps this is a good thing, perhaps not.

I'm bringing this up again because on the Ed Schultz Show, Schultz had right-winger Dana Loesch on as a guest, and she kept going on and on about "4.7 million being cancelled!" over and over again (I was actually surprised she kept the number under 5 million, to be honest).

However, what keeps getting lost in all the heated arguments about the "cancelled policies" debacle is this: Insurance companies were cancelling policies all the time prior to the ACA being passed...because that's the nature of the free market.

President Obama's "you can keep it!" statement was a rather foolish thing to say...but not for the reason that ACA detractors are howling about.

It was foolish because (you might want to sit down for this)...

In a private, free enterprise market, corporations have been known to discontinue and/or modify the products and/or services that they offer from time to time, for a wide array of reasons.

I know, I know: Quite an eyebrow-raiser, isn't it?

Companies go out of business. Companies get bought out by other companies. Companies stop operating in certain markets. Companies undergo mergers. Companies undergo structural changes, managerial changes, operational changes, branding changes.

President Obama saying "if you like your policy you can keep it" was foolish for the same reason that stating "If you like Facebook exactly the way it is, it will stay that way forever!" or "If you like the iPhone 4S, Apple will have to keep it available for purchase until the end of time!" would have been foolish.

So yes, some policies were cancelled last year, and some will be this year. Most people will replace them with new policies, most of which will have more comprehensive coverage than the old ones. Life will go on (in fact, for many of those who couldn't get insurance before the ACA due to having pre-existing conditions, life will literally go on).

That is all.