To the editor:
The Affordable Care Act (ACA, or “Obamacare”) outlaws Potemkin health insurance policies after Jan. 1. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous insurance companies are responding with political demagoguery.
“Potemkin insurance” means now you see it, now you don’t. You think you have good health insurance until the bills come in; then you discover all the loopholes. Some companies selling these policies have sent letters scaring their customers about huge premium increases to come, allegedly caused by the ACA.
Here’s what these letters leave out:
l It’s an “apples and oranges” comparison. The new premium covers real insurance. The old premium covered Potemkin insurance. Real insurance costs more than fake insurance.
l New tax credits are available for real insurance.
l Much better deals may be available from other companies. Companies that sell Potemkin insurance don’t usually offer the best deals on real insurance.
l You don’t have to buy from exploitative companies. Under the ACA, everyone is now eligible for insurance without discrimination or “underwriting.” You can’t be denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions.
l Competitive private insurance options are listed on the ACA insurance exchange. You don’t have to shop around.
The Lawrence-Douglas County League of Women Voters hopes that consumers will see through these distortions and avoid insurance companies that send dishonest letters.
Currently the ACA website isn’t working very well. To purchase insurance you may have to download an application to send through the mail. A list of expert “navigators” who will help you for free is available at http://insureks.org/assistance.php.