White House Will Likely Extend Administrative Fix for Canceled Plans
The Obama administration within the next few days is expected to announce an extension of up to three years for an administrative policy that allows U.S. residents to keep their health plans even if the plans do not meet minimum coverage standards under the Affordable Care Act, Reuters reports (Morgan, Reuters, 3/4).
HHS spokesperson Joanne Peters declined to confirm the announcement. However, the move is "an open secret in insurance and health policy circles," according to the Washington Post (Goldstein, Washington Post, 3/4).
President Obama initially issued the administrative fix in November 2013, following reports that millions of U.S. residents were being notified by their insurers that their existing health policies will be discontinued in late 2014 because they do not meet minimum standards under the ACA.
Under the fix, insurers are allowed to continue selling such health policies, but they are required to inform consumers that more comprehensive coverage options might be available in the ACA's insurance exchanges. Insurers also have to list the benefits that affected consumers would be going without if they choose to keep their current policies (California Healthline, 2/7).
Details Remain Foggy
Under the current administrative fix's timeframe, consumers would receive their second cancellation notices right before the November midterm elections. Observers said the potential extension is "aimed at averting another furor over canceled plans," according to the Wall Street Journal.
The precise length of the expected second delay is "unclear," with reports ranging from the reprieve lasting an additional year to up to three years, the Journal reports. An extension of any length could be tricky, as state insurance commissioners and insurers both have to agree to keep offering plans that do not meet the law's requirements (Radnofsky/Wilde Mathews, Wall Street Journal, 3/4).
Some analysts argue that the current extension has kept younger, healthier individuals -- who help balance the cost of insuring elderly or sicker individuals -- have encouraged people to remain on plans outside the ACA's health insurance exchanges (Reuters, 3/4)This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.