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Insurance companies: 'We won't drop anyone'

By Leah Linscheid, llinscheid@wkbt.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 01:47:08 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 05 2013 10:32:20 AM CST
Insureance companies switch clients to new coverage

WKBT, News8000.com

LA CROSSE, WI (WKBT) -

National news outlets have reported how insurance companies are cancelling coverage and dropping thousands of people from their plans because they don’t comply with the health care law. But that might not be the case in Wisconsin.

“We’re not cancelling anybody’s coverage,” Greg Skemp of Gundersen Health Plan said emphatically.

Gundersen is one of three health insurance companies News 8 spoke with Monday. All three said they would not drop anyone’s coverage.

"I think that's where the national media has picked up the story, but we're not. We're asking them to pick a new plan in 2014 for the small employers, but we're not cancelling anybody's coverage,” Skemp said.

Instead of dropping people, these companies will automatically enroll their clients in a different plan.

About 6,500 people in the greater La Crosse area have coverage through Gundersen that won’t meet all the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Some of those requirements comprise what the health care law calls “essential health benefits,” which translates into pharmacy, maternal, and other benefits. For Gundersen’s plan, that means smaller benefits like hearing aids or some pediatrics coverage need to be included.

“Complying with that isn’t that big of a change, it’s just some minor things,” Skemp said.

For those enrolled in the non-compliant programs, Gundersen will ask those people to either switch their coverage to another package, or they will be automatically enrolled in the insurance company’s cheapest plan.

WPS Health Insurance has about 9,000 members who are enrolled in plans that don't comply with Obamacare. Instead of dropping those people, they will be automatically enrolled in a similar plan for about the same price.

WPS will also offer public meetings across Wisconsin to help their clients understand the changes and their full range of options.

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