JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Without warning, hundreds of thousands of health insurance policies are being canceled with only a letter.
"This is something that has been brewing for about four years," says Dawn Emerick, President of the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida.
Emerick says each year insurance companies make changes to meet new regulations, but this year is different.
Jacksonville-based Florida Blue, the state's largest health insurer, recently sent a letter to 300,000 individual policy holders, canceling basic plans with low premiums and high deductibles, because they don't cover what the new health care law deems essential, such as prescriptions, rehab and maternity care.
Now customers are forced to purchase possibly higher premium plans through the health care marketplace that can include coverage they may not want.
"People say, 'maybe I don't want preventative care.' Well maybe you should want preventable care. I'm mean that is the way our health care system is moving," says Emerick.
Emerick believes the new requirements are good for consumers overall.
"The new options will include more coverage than what was included in their past plan, especially in a catastrophic situation. Remember that the Affordable Care Act is a paradigm shift. It is trying to move our health care system away from the sickness and illness model, and now it's switching to a prevention model."
Action News reached out to four of the state's largest carriers to see how many customers could eventually be caught off guard.
Emerick says thousands of people across the country started getting these notices as early as last year, and many more could be affected between now and January 1.
"This is just the tip of the iceberg, but it's all part of the adjustment. It is disruptive. It is scary, but don't panic. Your coverage won't be dropped today, and you'll be given time to find a new plan once the marketplace website is fully functioning."