Obama makes new promise to allow people to keep existing insurance plans

November 14, 2013

President Barack Obama is aiming to fix a broken promise made during the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA): that people can keep their existing health insurance, if they like it, under healthcare reform. Thursday Obama announced that health insurance companies can delay upgrades to existing plans to meet the requirements of the ACA until 2014.

 

President Barack Obama is aiming to fix a broken promise made during the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA): that people can keep their existing health insurance, if they like it, under healthcare reform. Thursday Obama announced that health insurance companies can delay upgrades to existing plans to meet the requirements of the ACA until 2014.

The new rule only applies to people who purchased plans and received cancellation notices. People who are currently without insurance would still not be able to buy the old plans. Insurance companies would also be required to send written notices to consumers detailing why their plans do not meet the minimum requirements and notifying them about other insurance options available though the healthcare marketplace.

Obama has faced mounting criticism from both Republicans and Democrats for failing to keep his 2010 promise that if Americans liked their current insurance policy, they would be able to keep it. Since August, insurance companies have sent up to a million cancellation notices to policyholders across the country, because their plans did not meet the minimum standards set by the ACA. According to Kaiser Health News, Florida Blue is cancelling 80%, or 300,000 individual policies, and Kaiser Permanente has sent notices to 160,000 policy holders-about half of their individual customers.

It is still unclear how many insurance companies will be reoffering the older plans and if policyholders who have already received cancellation notices are willing to go back to older plans. Many of the discontinued plans that didn’t meet ACA standards failed to include maternity, mental health, emergency, wellness, and other benefits. “State insurance commissioners still have the power to decide what plans can and can’t be sold in their states,” Obama added.

The change comes one day after the department of Health and Human Services reported that as of Nov. 2, about 106,000 Americans have enrolled in the health exchanges, which is roughly one-fifth of the 500,000 enrollees that they had estimated.

 

 

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