Health and Science

Your insurance is canceled because of Obamacare? Now what?

Obamacare insurance cancellation? Relax ...

Is your health insurance getting the boot with the Obamacare launch?

Don't freak out.

Americans have a number of ways to replace canceled health coverage, including a new option that offers many the chance to actually save money on it, according to experts.

"Don't panic," said Sara Collins, a Commonwealth Fund health policy analyst. "You have some time, lots of choice, and people to help you find what you need. You have a lot of new options—a lot more than last year if the same thing had happened to you."

Many people with individual insurance plans—those not part of an employer's plan—have already received cancellation notices.

Sources have told NBC News that between 7 million and 11 million of the 14 million Americans with individual coverage will receive cancellation letters because the plans don't meet new minimum benefit standards set by the Affordable Care Act.

(Read more: White House knew "millions" of people would have policies canceled)

In recent days, media reports have detailed how many people receiving such letters are distraught, believing they will be left without insurance or without a chance at affordable coverage beginning Jan. 1.

But follow-up reports have revealed that those people can get coverage, sometimes for less than what they were paying.

'Serious issue' for Americans losing plans

A Health and Human Services official told that six in 10 people "will be able to get a plan for under $100 per month."

But there's no denying that some people, particularly young, healthy people who had cheap plans with high deductibles, will end up paying more, said Collins at Commonwealth Fund.

"It's crazy," said Maria Gomez, a 45-year-old marketing consultant from Sarasota, Fla., who learned Thursday about the cancellation of the Cigna plan for which she pays $400 a month for herself and her son.

Gomez said that so far she is faced with an unpleasant choice: buy a $375-per-month plan with a whopping $12,000 deductible—her current plan has a $5,000 deductible—on the federal Obamacare exchange, or go outside the exchange to buy a plan for $597 a month with a $7,500 deductible.

"Who wants to do this [right] before Christmas?" she said. "I'm scrambling to get insurance as soon as possible. It's not a good time."

Here are your options if you are getting a cancellation notice or otherwise are being urged to get new insurance:

Check to see if you are 'grandfathered'

If your current policy is "grandfathered," you can keep it.

Grandfathered policies are ones in effect when the president signed the Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010, and that have not changed premium or out-of-pocket costs since.

"Most policies in the individual market are not 'grandfathered,' " the trade group America's Health Insurance Plans noted in a Web post.

(Read more: Obamacare exchanges; how they work)

Check out exchange websites

The second option—the major new choice—is to shop for a plan on the federally run website,, or on a state-run health exchange. offers plans for 36 states, while 14 states and the District of Columbia are operating their own exchanges.

Although's tech troubles have made it difficult for many people to enroll in plans so far, federal officials predict that it will be operating smoothly enough by the end of November that millions of people will be able to use it and buy coverage.

Though there's no obligation to sign up on the government-run exchanges, Collins said it is "very important" for consumers to consider using the them, as plans sold on them are the only ones eligible for federal tax credits, or subsidies, to offset premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

"You might want to look at whether you're eligible for a subsidy," Collins said. "It might reduce your costs, and you might get a better policy."

Subsidies are available to individuals whose adjusted annual gross income is less than about $46,000. The income maximums for subsidy eligibility increase with family size, up to a family of four, whose maximum income to get subsidies is $94,200.

For Bridget Wood Moreau, a 46-year-old homemaker from Estes Park, Colo., buying on her state's exchange offered a significant cost-savings for her family. She had received a cancellation notice for her own Rocky Mountain HMO policy, and Humana said her husband and four kids would have to re-enroll in a policy that will expire next year or choose new plans.

(Read more: Obamacare explained)

Beforehand, both policies had a combined $1,415 in premiums and deductibles of $12,500 a year, she said. Because of Moreau's ulcerative colitis, a recent scoliosis surgery for her daughter and other costs, the family's annual medical bills had routinely topped $30,000 and were "unsustainable," she said.

But this week, Moreau enrolled in a Kaiser Permanente plan on Colorado's exchange that had a monthly premium of "$1,133 for all six of us, and zero deductible," she said. With a monthly subsidy of $303 they qualified for, the family will pay $830 a month.

"I'm ecstatic," Moreau said.

Check out whether your insurer can recommend another plan

Cancellation letters being sent out by insurers will usually contain information about certain other plans offered by the same insurer, Collins said.

Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia recently sent out the second of what will be a series of three cancellation and informational letters to 25,000 individual policyholders, which make up about 40 percent of IBC's individual policy business.

The letters contain side-by-side comparison of current plans with three other policy options from the insurer, according to Brian Lobley, IBC senior vice president for marketing.

Obamacare subsidies and regulations on how insurers deal with customers with pre-existing conditions mean that "a good majority of the folks are actually going to have a more affordable policy," he said.

Independence also plans to make "outreach calls" to those who don't respond by choosing a new plan, Lobley said. "They're IBC members, so we want them to stay IBC members."

(Read more: Obamacare deadlines you need to know)

To that end, IBC—like other insurers—is not pointing out that customers can check out competitors' offerings.

But Collins said it's worthwhile for people to shop around for coverage because "there's a lot of variability between plans," even when they cover the same percentage level of benefits.

Plans can have significantly different premiums, as well as varying deductible and other out-of-pocket costs, and network providers—all things that customers need to weigh, she said.

Look for other options

"You can also consult a broker or 'navigator' to help you with the process," Collins said .

Brokers are the traditional insurance brokers, while "navigators" are a new class of helpers created by the ACA who assist people with shopping and buying coverage from the government-run exchanges.

Collins also noted that people can check out online brokers such as,,, which offer thousands of plans nationally.

A number of those Web brokers are expected to be connected soon to the federal exchange, so that they can sell plans that are eligible for subsidies.

By CNBC's Dan Mangan. Follow him on Twitter @_DanMangan