Congressman says carriers hiding behind ACA on cancellation confusion

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Congressman James Clyburn isn’t buying the argument that the Affordable Care Act is forcing carriers to change or cancel policies any more than usual. Despite industry accounts to the contrary, Clyburn believes insurance carriers have a long history of canceling coverage and are using the ACA as an excuse to drop even more people.

“I’ve been hearing from my constituents for the entire 21 years I’ve been in Congress about cancellation letters that they have been getting from insurance companies,” Clyburn said during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union. “Get sick, go for your second treatment, you get a cancellation letter.”

Clyburn, a democrat representing South Carolina, said even the new policy that previously-canceled plans can be extended through 2014 is being used by carriers to disallow health coverage.

“The fact of the matter is, we’re trying to stop these cancellation letters, and now a few insurance companies have decided to use the Affordable Care Act to send out a new set of cancellation letters,” he said.

Christopher Condeluci, a former Senate Finance Committee tax counsel, apparently anticipated such a reaction to the White House’s decision to defer to state insurance commissioners and health insurers as to how to proceed.

“Now the state insurance commissioners and the insurance companies are going to look like the bad guys, not the president,” Condeluci told LifeHealthPro.

Commissioners appear to be divided on the issue, while carriers are at a loss for how to “un-cancel” policies that have been deleted from company computers and may disrupt the market in the long run.


  • Dave Boehnke on 11/18/2013 2:30:01 PM

    Maybe if the President and Congress would have acually known what they were passing in the first place all this confusion could have been avoided!

  • Ken Kunes on 11/18/2013 2:31:43 PM

    I think Congressman Clyburn is losing his reasoning. Maybe he has been in congress too
    long. Why would Insurance Company's want
    to cancel policies. That is how they make a profit. That would be like GM refusing to sell
    autos. In the past, the only ways insurance
    companies could cancel policies was only if they cancelled all of a particular class of policies in their State. They were not permitted to cancel single policies.The Congressman is showing he does not know what he is talking about and should retire from Congress until his IQ is over 56.

  • AdvisorGuy on 11/18/2013 2:32:44 PM

    He needs to talk to Nancy Pelosi. Shoulda' read the bill before he voted on it, but Nancy says you have to vote on it to see what's in it. OOPS!!

  • thunder 69er on 11/18/2013 2:38:50 PM

    This is a bunch of hyperbole on Rep. Clyman's part. If he actually read the ACA that he voted for he would know that the insurance companies had no choice but to cancel the non-compliant policies.

    It took the companies the whole time since the act passed to rewrite the policies, get them approved by state insurance commissioners and then re-program the computer systems.

    Wait until next year when the employer based insurance policies start getting cancellation notices.

  • Advisor II on 11/18/2013 2:47:26 PM

    Not only does the government not know what is in the ACA but they do not know that it really is not Affordable... Real people that have been paying for insurance for years with policies that cover what they need are now either being cancelled and rewritten with premiums hundreds of dollars more then they have been paying, but with coverages they do not need but are required by the government to provide. I'm sorry but men do not need maturnity coverage.. The government has no clue what they are doing.

  • A Mercer on 11/18/2013 2:54:40 PM

    Typical Congressman attitude, blame someone else for not doing a job that was his responsibility. Wasn't he the person sworn into office to look out for the people he represents? Time for Congress to "man up" and take responsibility for their epic screw up!

  • The Healthguy on 11/18/2013 3:28:39 PM

    What an embarrassment to have such uniformed, purposefully ignorant person representing their district. I hope that your words return you to a life of regretful retirement.

    When the architects and builders use faulty materials, it's not the fire department's fault when something burns to the ground.

  • Stephanie on 11/18/2013 4:20:31 PM

    Great! Blame the insurance company....What choice were they given if they wanted to continue to provide Health Insurance other than comply with the ACA. Why not try to fix the problems Rep Clyman (there are SO many.........pick one) How about all the Senators and Representatives elect to go on a 'BRONZE' plan with 'Obama Care'? We can put the saving from that to work paying down the deficit.... Sound good?

  • Ken on 11/18/2013 4:28:41 PM

    It's always the insurance companies. Obama is blameless because he is so ill informed of everything that happens right under his nose. They pushed this ill conceived and broken plan onto the American public and then want to blame everyone for the fallout. Look out during the next election cycle. It will be a bloodbath.

  • Chuck on 11/18/2013 4:33:17 PM

    This fool has the stones to blame the incompetencies on the insurers. This same fool who called the tea party racists. Its high time this old man retire

  • Jorge Saldana on 11/18/2013 4:37:19 PM

    Funny.."hearing from my constituents"..not really taking a stand or pretending like he cares what his constituents are saying. If you have really been hearing from your constituents for 21 years about this issue, why haven't you spoken up before about the matter or tried doing something about? Bottom line, Government trying to run a system that they don't understand and a President spearheading it, that has no real experience in Government, voted in by voters who have never voted before. What could go wrong?

  • Rob Perry on 11/18/2013 4:44:58 PM

    I wonder why 21 years as a congressman in your state isn't enough time to stop carriers acting improperly. Seems like it might be time for this out-of-touch and ineffective Congressman to be returned home and allow a more informed and effective legislator to get the people's business handled in a timely manner.

  • GoodGrief on 11/18/2013 4:50:56 PM

    Congratualtions, SC, you've elected a man who can't (or won't) read. People are NOT cancelled from health plans as he claims. This practice has been prohibited by HIPAA since 1996. See the definition of "guaranteed renewable" from the SC Dept of Ins webapge:

  • j Payne,, on 11/18/2013 4:53:07 PM

    It amazes me how ignorant an elected official can be. Sure typical blame it on the insurance company. You don't see him complaining about his healthcare because he,s exempt from the ACA plans being a member of congress. If his coverage was being cancelled he,d be the first one to complain. Brainless!!!!

  • j Payne,, broker of 30 yrs on 11/18/2013 4:56:13 PM

    It amazes me how ignorant an elected official can be. Sure typical blame it on the insurance company. You don't see him complaining about his healthcare because he,s exempt from the ACA plans being a member of congress. If his coverage was being cancelled he,d be the first one to complain. Brainless!!!!

  • Realy on 11/18/2013 5:48:59 PM

    21 years of letters and now he speaks up.

  • Suzanne Gregory on 11/18/2013 6:38:19 PM

    I knew the politicians were using this as a ploy to shift the blame to the big bad insurance companies. What I don't understand is why the insurance companies find themselves so deep in bed with the federal government that they can no longer say if you blame us for your foolishness we are out. No aca plans on or off exchange by us. I am starting to respect the insurance companies that just said NO from the get go.

  • Dennis Clarken on 11/18/2013 6:42:48 PM

    This guy is a true IDIOT!!! Face it, the ACA hurts more than it helps. If the Dems had the guts to think about what matters to most Americans before they thought about themselves than we wouldn't be in this position. It's THEIR fault! They own it and it's up to the RIGHT (aka... CORRECT side) to fix this blundering mess they've made. How can we even be listening to anybody on the Hill who is exempt in the first place? These people need to walk in our shoes, PERIOD! That's my "clean" version. I'm PISSED OFF! Just sayin'

  • Luv2shoot on 11/18/2013 6:45:38 PM

    This guy is an IDIOT. The Dems own this and now the right, and the industry has to fix it. What a bunch of BS. I'm PISSED! Just sayin'

  • Don H on 11/19/2013 5:36:09 AM

    Stephanie- AMEN! Why are our elected officals allowed to have their own health insurance plan and are exempt from the ACA plans that are being forced on us?? Like almost everything else that our government has gotten their fingers into, this is a royal mess. And, true to our current politians track records, as soon as something goes bad they look for someone else to point the finger of blame at. What happened to men and women that took responsiblity for their actions?? They voted for the ACA but they can't accept the fact that they messed up. I hope and pray that the American people WAKE UP and show their disapproval at the voting booth. Wipe the slate clean! Fire ever one of these congressmen, representatives and senators that voted for this thing. The replacements can't hardly do any worse. Oh, here's another novel idea, let's eliminate these lifer's we have representing us in Washington. Put limits back on the number of years they can serve. That's right, I said "back on". 200 years ago there was no such thing as a 21 year congressman. They served their term and then went back to their homes and businesses and had to live with the laws they passed. I long for the good old days.

  • BB on 11/19/2013 5:38:35 AM

    Mr. Clyburn is simply referring back to the liberal handbook on Crisis Management: Chapter 2 - Control the Narrative [and enough people will believe you]. With 20 years in office, and a virtually no chance of losing, he's the perfect mouthpiece to spread misinformation. For him there is no downside to show his lack of intelligence or grasp of the obvious. It's easier to make s*** up as he goes, similar to the president.

  • Bill Lutz on 11/19/2013 5:42:39 AM

    First off....these policies haven't been "deleted" from the insurance company computers....that is a ridiculous statement. But, no underwriting has been done to "renew" these policies for the 2014 year as the carriers were informed they could not offer them going forward. To assume that they can be "uncancelled" at the flip of a switch is just a is most of the ACA. Yes, the healthcare system needs to have a makeover....the largest factor...COSTS FOR HEALTHCARE, still have yet to be addressed.

  • Rick on 11/19/2013 5:48:01 AM

    I checked with the South Carolina Insurance Division and Rosa Rivers (Senior Policy Analyst responded: "South Carolina Insurance laws prohibit an insurer from canceling an individual because they have filed claims. They can only be canceled for non-payment of premiums or if the entire group of business under that specific policy form is being non-renewed or discontinued."

    How can we get this information to Congressman Clyburn? Where are all these people who've been cancelled and why didn't they file a claim with the insurance division?

  • Really? on 11/19/2013 6:10:00 AM

    Come on, guys. Not to question every aspect of your comments, but honestly, you never heard of an insurance company cancelling a policy before the ACA?

  • G. Gene Corvino on 11/19/2013 11:29:27 AM

    Once again Congressman Clyburn shows his lack of intelligence and outright stupidity. He is so concerned about Obama's reputation that he is willing to blame the insurance industry for something they have no control over. I wonder if he has noticed that no one in So. Carolina has had their insurance cancelled because of the ACA. It's unfortunate his constituents are not bright enough to see through him and his outlandish remarks.

  • Steve on 11/19/2013 12:26:52 PM

    To Really?: If you understand how health insurance has worked since at least 1996 you would know that a health insurer has not been able to cancel an individual policy due to claims or utiliaztion. It is correct that policies get cancelled all the time, BUT COVERAGE DOES NOT. When a carrier changes policies (to meet new regulations/mandates or because they are changing copays / deductibles / coinsurance) they are required to send a notice of cancellation to the insured. The insured is then issued a new policy that incorporates the changes.

    Note: The insured still has COVERAGE! Just with a new tweeked policy. And by the way, most policies are changed due to regulatory requirements and mandates. It was State governments that forced most of the changes until the ACA came along.

    One more comment - The entire concept that "exhanges" would ever work from an e-commerce standpoint is a pipe dream. It is "Too big to succeed".

  • Jim Ezersky on 11/19/2013 4:56:23 PM

    It is unreal that a Congressman could be so ignorant of long held insurance law. You find me a policy anywhere in America which can individually cancel anyone out- hasn't existed for at least 20 years, but like the saying goes, if you tell a loud lie long enough and often enough, you may come to believe it.

    I'd love to debate this mentally challenged politician on national television, but the mismatch would make me feel so guilty. He should be ashamed for lying to the public like that.

    Thou shalt not lie- isn't it one of the Big Ten?

  • Rick on 11/19/2013 6:07:15 PM

    To Really: I have written many plans over the last 34 years and have never had a single policy cancelled for someone getting sick. Now..if you complete a fraudulent application, then that is a different story, but it is not the insurance company cancelling someone after their second claim, as Congressman Clyburn describes, which is why I sent the request to the SC Insurance Division.

  • Pat on 11/20/2013 4:41:14 PM

    Typical Obama, ACA ploy...pass the buck. No responsibility resting on these shoulders!

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