People who lost health insurance policies given more options

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. More options are being extended to anyone who lost their health insurance policy with the Affordable Care Act, but some think it's still not enough to make up for not being able to keep their old plans.

"At best, it's a band aid," said Thomas Mangold, who lost his insurance plan. "It's not a solution to the problem. The problem is still there. The problem is still great. As far as I'm concerned, this plan stinks."

Those who are affected by changes to health care plans are now able to apply for the hardship exemption, which would either remove the penalty for not having health insurance or give people above the age of 30 the chance to buy a catastrophic plan.

"It's still not a comprehensive enough plan for someone like myself who has been insured my whole life," Mangold said.

The decision comes right before the deadline to have health coverage by January 1, 2014.

"It does make it more difficult because with the notice coming out yesterday," said Connie Schulthies, who works for Home Loan Insurance. "Then is there a rush of people that might be left trying to figure out what to do?"

For Rocky Mountain Health plans, the price difference between the catastrophic plan and the lowest bronze plan, which people are eligible for without the hardship exemption is less than $3 for a 45 year old.

"I'm not sure that this decision is going to bring any more affordable options to those who may have lost their coverage," Schulthies said.

Local insurance brokers said they expect more Coloradans to use the hardship exemption to get out of paying the penalty fee for not having health insurance rather than to get the catastrophic plan.

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