WASHINGTON — Many people who buy their own health insurance could get surprises in the mail this fall: cancellation notices because their current policies aren't up to the basic standards of President Barack Obama's health care law.
They, and some small businesses, will have to find replacement plans — and that has some state insurance officials worried about consumer confusion.
Rollout of the Affordable Care Act is going full speed ahead, despite repeal efforts by congressional Republicans. New insurance markets called exchanges are to open in every state this fall. Middle-class consumers who don't get coverage on the job will be able to pick private health plans, while low-income people will be steered to an expanded version of Medicaid in states that accept it.
The goal is to cover most of the nation's nearly 50 million uninsured, but even Obama says there will be bumps in the road. And discontinued insurance plans could be another bump.
But supporters of the overhaul think consumers won't object once they realize the coverage they will get under the new law is superior to current bare-bones insurance. For example, insurers will no longer be able to turn people down because of medical problems.
For the most part, state insurance commissioners are giving insurers the option of canceling existing plans or changing them to comply with new federal requirements. Large employer plans that cover most workers and their families are unlikely to be affected.