[I]t’s important to distinguish complaints about cancellation notices from complaints about rate shock. Critics of the law have done their level best to create the impression that everyone who’s received a cancellation notice has experienced, or will soon experience, rate shock. But it’s not true.Insurers are sending out these letters, telling people they'll be automatically enrolled in other, more expensive plans. They're not telling people they can shop around for a better deal. Which is precisely the point of the health insurance exchanges. These insurers are betting that people will go the route of least resistance, and just fork up the money for the plan they're being pushed toward. Of course insurers are doing that! They're going to squeeze whatever extra money they can get out of people because that's what they do.
Some people who receive these notices will be pleasantly surprised to find that the most similar new plan offered by their current provider is actually cheaper than their old one. Others will be told that a similar plan will cost more. What they won’t be told, because insurers don’t want to downsell or advertise for their competitors, is that they’re likely to find a different plan available through their state exchange that’s closer to the same price or cheaper. If they can’t find a cheaper one, then there’s a decent chance that federal subsidies will reduce their out-of-pocket costs. It’s only the remainder—and it’s likely to be a small remainder — that genuinely will have no choice but to either pay more money (in some cases significantly more) or pay a fine and go without coverage.
No one is actually losing their health insurance, a fact that Republicans in hearings and conservative commenters (and bad reporters) aren't talking about. They're also not talking about the fact that people now have options, in lots of states, lots of options, and they don't have to take what their current health insurer is selling.