Health and Science

Individual health plans never guaranteed: Van Hollen

Obamacare problems 'unacceptable': Rep. Van Hollen

Americans who purchased health insurance on their own were never guaranteed coverage, even before Obamacare, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., told CNBC on Tuesday.

Van Hollen was responding to a report by NBC News that cited sources who predicted 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a cancellation notice over the next year because their existing policies don't meet the standards mandated by the law.

(Read more: White House knew of Obamacare cancellations)

"The issues we're talking about are primarily, first of all on the individual market. And as know you, long before the Affordable Care Act, the individual market was a very turbulent market," Van Hollen said in a "Squawk Box" interview.

"You buy health policies at 12 months at a time," he said. "There is no guarantee. There was no guarantee before the Affordable Care Act that you would be able to get the same policy and the same premium."

NBC News also said that Obamacare regulations in 2010 estimated that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, "40 to 67 percent" of customers will not be able to keep their policy. As late as last year, President Barack Obama said that people would be able to keep their health insurance.

"It is the case that as a result of the Affordable Care Act, there are some minimum standards that apply to the kinds of policies that can be offered on the individual market and others," Van Hollen said. "And some of the policies that had been offered no longer qualify."

"About half of those folks who are getting those policy changes on the individual market will, in fact, qualify for the tax credits," he said. "And therefore, their overall costs will be no higher."

Budget talks

Van Hollen, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said some conversations have been held about the deadlines early next year to keep the government from shutting down again and to increase the debt ceiling. "The first formal meeting of the conference committee will be Wednesday, he said.

The temporary deals to end the 16-day federal closure earlier this month and to extend the nation's borrowing limit will expire on Jan. 15 and Feb. 7 respectively.

"I do hope we can find a way to at least take some small [to] medium steps forward to at least instill a little more confidence," Van Hollen said. "I would hope ... we put down the clubs and the threats of government shutdown and default and make some progress."

By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere. Follow him on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC.