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updated: 12/7/2013 5:22 PM

Health care panel discusses consequences of Obamacare

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  • About 40 people turned out to listen to speakers at the MyCancellation.com town-hall meeting Saturday at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. Panelists answered questions from people whose health insurance policies were canceled by the Affordable Care Act and those who had other concerns about the new health care law.

       About 40 people turned out to listen to speakers at the MyCancellation.com town-hall meeting Saturday at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. Panelists answered questions from people whose health insurance policies were canceled by the Affordable Care Act and those who had other concerns about the new health care law.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • Eric Kohn, CEO of Curious Task Strategies Inc., addresses the audience at MyCancellation.com town-hall meeting Saturday at College of DuPage.

       Eric Kohn, CEO of Curious Task Strategies Inc., addresses the audience at MyCancellation.com town-hall meeting Saturday at College of DuPage.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

 
 

A few dozen people turned out Saturday afternoon to share their concerns with the health care overhaul known as Obamacare and find out what the future might hold for them in terms of insurance costs and coverage.

"I'm concerned about my insurance and the government telling me it's substandard," said Miriam Iwrey of Wheaton at the forum called MyCancellation.com and presented by Independent Women's Voice Saturday at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn.

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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.

Iwrey said she received a note several weeks ago stating that her Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage, a policy she's had for years, didn't meet the standards under the new Affordable Care Act. But on Friday, she received a letter saying she could keep the policy.

"I'm in flux," she said. "I'm not sure what this means or what we can do to change the law."

In Illinois, 185,340 insurance policies have been canceled, said Eric Kohn, CEO with the public affairs firm Curious Task Strategies Inc., who moderated Saturday's panel. Those policies represent two to three times that number of people.

Naomi Lopez-Bauman, director of health policy for the Illinois Policy Institute, said it's no wonder people are confused. She said people who received cancellation notices should contact their insurance companies directly because the Affordable Care Act recently was amended to allow previously disallowed plans.

"It's not as easy as flipping a switch," she said, "but hopefully we'll see some relief in our state."

Dr. Richard Ferolo, who practices in Barrington, said he thinks the path to lower health care costs lies not with the Affordable Care Act but with legal reforms and streamlining the approval process for getting prescription drugs to the market.

"You can't fix the health care system without fixing the legal system," Ferolo said.

Lopez-Bauman said her group is working with providers to map the cost of health care.

"There's a disconnect," she said, between what health care costs and what legislators and customers think it costs. Seeing a doctor "costs more than an oil change at Jiffy Lube," she said.

The panelists encouraged those attending the town-hall meeting to make their voices heard through MyCancellation.com, where they can submit stories, photos and cancellation letters to its website, Facebook page and Twitter account.

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