NPR reported millions won't be keeping their health care plans due to new requirements of the ACA.

MONTAGNE: [...] When Obamacare goes into full swing this January, millions of people who buy insurance on their own will need to look for new plans. That's because many have bare-bones plans that doesn't meet the law's requirements. Kelley Weiss reports.

What are the official estimates on the number of people who won't be able to keep their 2013 health insurance plans in 2014 due to requirements of the ACA?

Note: Official estimates include the CBO, HHS, IRS, or other government entity.


2 Answers 2


You mentioned an article in the comments which appears to have the numbers you are looking for.

According to the article:

50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law

So, that comes to 7 million to 10.5 million, or roughly 3% of the population.

I don't know if that makes for an 'official' estimate or not.

It should be noted, however, that these are 'cancelled policies due to non-compliance with ACA'. That's not quite the same thing as saying 'unable to keep their health insurance' as most people will be able to continue getting covered by the same doctors under the same insurance company under a new plan.

Obama is certainly getting some flak for this, as the administration was fairly adamant about the 'you can keep your insurance if you like it' statement.

On a technical level, that was clearly incorrect, and a rather major mis-step in communication with the public.

On the other hand, these are non-compliant plans, which typically means they were catastrophic plans. Those that would argue the other side would point out that a catastrophic plan is a pretty poor plan to begin with.

  • 1
    You should note that policies sold before March 23rd 2010 and not significantly altered since then won't have to be cancelled, meaning that insurance companies sold or altered policies they knew would be cancelled since then.
    – Publius
    Nov 1, 2013 at 5:01

Health and Human services:U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury Issue Regulation on “Grandfathered” Health Plans under the Affordable Care Act press release on June 14, 2010 included the following estimates:

Most of the 133 million Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance through large employers will maintain the coverage they have today. [...]

The roughly 42 million people insured through small businesses will likely transition from their current plan to one with the new Affordable Care Act protections over the next few years. [...]

The 17 million people who are covered in the individual health insurance market, where switching of plans and substantial changes in coverage are common, will receive the new protections of the Affordable Care Act sooner rather than later. Roughly 40 percent to two-thirds of people in individual market policies normally change plans within a year.

The linked regulations in the news release has these estimates (pg. 17, TABLE 3):

                   | 2011| 2012| 2013|
Low-End Estimate   +-----+-----+-----+
  Small Employer   | 20% | 36% | 49% |
  Large Employer   | 13% | 24% | 34% |
Mid-Range Estimate +-----+-----+-----+
  Small Employer   | 30% | 51% | 66% |
  Large Employer   | 18% | 33% | 45% |
High-End Estimate  +-----+-----+-----+
  Small Employer   | 42% | 66% | 80% |
  Large Employer   | 29% | 50% | 64% |

So, of all people insured, on the the Low-High estimates come to 72.6 million to 130 million, or roughly 23%-41% of the population.

  • Low-End: 0.49 * 42 million + 0.34 * 133 million + 0.40 * 17 million = 72.6 million

  • Mid-Range: 0.66 * 42 million + 0.45 * 133 million + 0.52 * 17 million = 96.4 million

  • High-End: 0.80 * 42 million + 0.64 * 133 million + 0.67 * 17 million = 130 million

  • The figures you have here are for everyone who switched plans, including voluntarily. Apr 1, 2014 at 20:07

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