Originally Posted by stephenandrew
I am in an HDHP with an HSA. My employer provides several options for health insurance including the HDHP as well as standard/traditional policy, and an HMO. We are allowed to change policies annually--to the best of my knowledge I have not heard that anyone who is not currently in the HDHP can no longer join. Is what you are saying only true for the individual market?
Anyone, up through the end of 2013, can apply to join a higher deductible policy (although I have not studied in detail the other changes coming before 2014). My point is that pre-2010 policies are "stale". And in 2014, all previously sold health insurance policies will become "stale", even low deductible policies.
Yes, group insurance can be different. That is because, if the group is large enough, it is its own risk pool. That is why someone in a large group, unlike an individual, can change their policy each year. It is also why the insurance company can do the same -- essentially, the entire thing is often renegotiated annually.
However, many smaller groups are experiencing this dilemma (along with virtually all individual plans). There has been a great deal of debate about what it means to be grandfathered and the debate is still happening, the people writing and interpreting the regulations are in control of this.
Sometimes I think that many folks don't realize the magnitude of the change coming. Or they falsely believe that there is a high probability that they will be able to keep their existing policy a long time. In my opinion, these people are in for a big shock to their pocketbooks and their freedom to manage their health care.
Understanding this is important to someone with an already large HSA, because what they should do is different if they think they will be able to keep their high deductible policy for many years, versus being forced into a high cost low deductible policy.