In Congress, outrage has reached new heights this week at the presumed effects of the Affordable Care Act. To the troubled debut of HealthCare.gov, the federal website for insurance enrollment, add the concern that thousands of individuals who buy insurance on their own are receiving notification letters from insurers, who are canceling current health plans and giving the policyholders the option to sign up for new plans.

Critics of the law note that this turn flies in the face of repeated assurances by President Obama that those who like their plans will be able to keep them. Clearly, the president oversimplified the ramifications of the complex legislation. In a political battle that left little space for nuanced explanations, he left the impression, unfortunately, that the overhaul would present virtually no inconvenience to anyone. The overpromise has not served consumers well. They are right to be chagrined.

Still, 60 percent of non-elderly Americans, a majority, receive health coverage from their employers. For them, it is fair to say the Affordable Care Act offers little change, no more inconvenience than they already encounter in the annual routine of enrollment renewal, cost-sharing and benefits adjustments and the occasional change when care providers switch networks.

But the law changes the scenario significantly for both insurers and the 5 percent or so of Americans who buy insurance in the individual market and now are required to shop for coverage on state health exchanges. The focus of many of the requirements for the exchanges is to ensure access to better coverage and affordable rates for this tiny segment of the population. Naturally, the wrinkles in the maddeningly complicated law are surfacing with implementation, the cancellation notices being one result. The unfolding couldn’t be worse timing for a White House on its heels with the lousy technology rollout of the exchanges.

Yet missing in all the posturing occurring in the House hearings is perspective on the problem the law aims to address. The new law requires plans offered on state exchanges to include a minimum, or “essential benefits,” package covering mental health, maternity care and prescription drugs among other services. Currently, consumers in the individual market typically face bare-bones plans that offer fewer benefits, higher costs and minimal coverage. Many such flawed policies were “grandfathered” when the law was enacted in 2010.

It is little surprise that insurers are replacing such skimpy plans with more substantive and higher-priced coverage that meets the requirements of the law. Also, one might assume, they gain competitive advantage thereby in an expanding market. The shame is neither policymakers nor insurers invested the effort in the education that needs to occur before consumers are thrown into the thick of a vastly confusing change.