President Obama is allowing insurance companies to let millions of Americans whose health plans are facing cancellations to extend individual policies into 2014, but insurers must follow certain guidelines.
The one-year extension is designed to allow the market to better adjust to new Obamacare regulations.
“HHS Health and Human Services Department) will consider the impact of this transitional policy in assessing whether to extend it beyond 2014,” a fact sheet from the White House says.
Insurers and state insurance commissioners will decide whether people can actually keep their current plans. But if large numbers do so, it could destabilize the insurance market and result in higher premiums.
To protect against the potential impacts this change will have on premiums, the White House said that HHS will make adjustments to a “risk corridor program” designed to stabilize premiums as changes are implemented.
Under the administration’s Obamacare changes announced Thursday, insurers:
- Are allowed to renew current policies for current enrollees without adopting the 2014 Obamacare market rule changes;
- Must notify these consumers and tell them what protections these renewed plans do not include;
- Must tell these consumers that there are more options available on the new Obamacare marketplaces that offer better coverage and possible financial assistance;
- Must inform these consumers that tax credits are available for many consumers;
- Must not allow consumers facing cancellations to buy existing plans that do not meet new Obamacare standards;
“Now, this fix won’t solve every problem for every person,” Obama said. “But it’s going to help a lot of people. Doing more will require work with Congress. And I’ve said from the beginning, I’m willing to work with Democrats and Republicans to fix problems as they arise.This is an example of what I was talking about. We can always make this law work better.”
The Republican opposition took little time to hit the president hard. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said that the administration’s fix won’t go far enough.
“It’s clear the American people simply can’t trust this White House,” he said. “The only way to fully protect the American people is to scrap this law once and for all. There is no way to fix this.”