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American Family ending health insurance

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Earlier this week, David Brinkman received a surprise in the mail.

It was a letter, and inside, it said American Family Insurance was canceling his medical policy, effective April 2014.

"We were kind of dumbfounded, for lack of a better term," Brinkman said. "We didn't know what we were going to do."

Brinkman is a farmer living in Greene, Iowa, and has had four bypasses and several stents put in for his heart. For a man with his health problems, losing his insurance is a huge problem.

"If your insurance gets canceled, that's a big chunk of your life," he said.

Brinkman isn't alone in his problem, either – American Family confirmed that they're actually canceling all their major medical insurance policies.

Brinkman said he thought it was because of the Affordable Care Art, also known colloquially as Obamacare. But, that's not the case, said American Family.

"It had nothing to do with that legislation," American Family Spokesman Steve Witmer said."The wheels were in motion for this in 2009 and prior."

Witmer told me that the company decided back in 2009 that they simply couldn't afford to provide competitive health insurance anymore. Current health customers have been grandfathered along in the grace period since then. American Family is recommending that its soon-to-be-former customers transfer to Assurant Health, where the companies have brokered a deal for guaranteed coverage.

Still, Brinkman said it is a tough transition – he'll be paying more, and for less coverage at that. Total, he estimated that the change will add about $5000 to his yearly insurance costs.

"That's a heck of difference in your life, especially when you get to be my age and are thinking about retirement," he said.

Now, he has 60 days to make the decision of whether to transfer to Assurant, or look for coverage elsewhere, because the clock is ticking on his American Family policy.

Witmer adds that American Family Insurance will continue to sell Medicare Supplement insurance policies and health insurance products provided by Assurant Health.

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