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updated: 12/6/2013 10:49 AM

Group coming to Glen Ellyn to focus on insurance cancellations

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A group focusing on people whose insurance has been canceled due to Affordable Care Act requirements is coming to College of DuPage's Glen Ellyn campus.

The nonprofit group called Independent Women's Voice will launch its "My Cancellation" town-hall tour Saturday to answer questions and "give a voice" to those with canceled health insurance policies, organizers say.

The session starts at 12:30 p.m. in the college's Student Resource Center.

Hadley Heath, senior policy analyst for Independent Women's Voice, says she's one of those who had her health insurance policy canceled because it was not compliant with the act.

The health care law, which took effect Oct. 1, dictates that each plan must cover a list of essential benefits. Heath received her cancellation notice in October.

"For many people, this is the most pressing concern of Obamacare," Heath said. "There is a lot of confusion, concern and anger out there. We are providing a platform and a voice for those affected."

Independent Women's Voice is an affiliate of the Independent Women's Forum, a conservative nonprofit group founded in 1992 focusing on policy issues pressing to women and advocating free enterprise and limited government.

In 2010, it launched a repeal pledge drive asking politicians and voters to commit to a specific anti-ACA platform; in July it was one of 17 groups to sign a letter supporting U.S. House efforts to delay the ACA's employer and individual mandate.

This fall, the group launched the project, where people could submit stories, photos and cancellation letters to its website, Facebook page and Twitter account. Twitter froze its account at least three times the first week of the launch, pushback the group speculated was politically motivated, but the account now has more than 10,000 followers.

Saturday's panel of speakers will include health care policy expert Naomi Lopez of the Illinois Policy Institute, C. Stephen Tucker of Small Business Insurance Services, Inc., and medical professionals.

"There is an information gap for these people who have received cancellations," Heath said. "We're providing information for why this is happening, why we got here and sort of a status update."

Heath said the event will provide a forum for question-and-answer. She anticipates questions about why plans were canceled, what people should do next, and about other changes and costs to premiums.

"We plan to explain the options left for people who have had cancellations or face termination," Heath said. "I don't think our role is to tell people what to do; we will explain to people what their options are. It will vary from state to state. It is a complex topic with many moving parts."

The tour also is going to North Carolina, Louisiana and Arkansas with other states planned, and is free. While people can have their stories heard and be educated on the implications of the health care law, Heath stressed this "is a practical, rather than a political gathering."

"People can look at the facts, look at reality and make their own conclusions," she said.

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