White House Pitches Obamacare Fix: Canceled Plans Extended One Year

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On Thursday, President Obama offered up sports metaphors and explicit apologies in what POLITICO called an “extensive ‘mea culpa’ news conference.”

The President was responding to both the “fumbled” rollout of the healthcare exchanges, and the problems that resulted from the Obama administration talking point “if you like your plan, you can keep it.”

In the press conference, the President outlined a fix for the latter problem.

According to The Huffington Post, “health insurance companies will be permitted to extend current policies, even though they don’t comply with Affordable Care Act standards for benefits and financial protections,” for one year.

For the customers that avail themselves of this extension, insurance companies are required to include information about which provisions of the healthcare law with which the previously-canceled policy does not comply.

Still, not everyone is happy with this solution.

The Weekly Standard calls the fix “Extralegal,” pointing out that this does not change the law, but merely delays the inevitable.

“That is,” the article states, “the Obama administration will not enforce the penalty on individuals for not having eligible health insurance plans and they’ll allow the insurance companies to still sell so-called bad plans — plans they technically can’t sell under Obamacare.”

The key point of this issue is that it is up to health insurers to execute the President’s fix. Or, as The Washington Post puts it, this solution “is nearly certain to create a big mess for insurance companies and the state officials who regulate them.”

Insurance companies that have been complying with the law have about a month to extend policies that weren’t supposed to exist beyond Jan. 1, 2014, and their customers will have even less time to make their decisions.

It is also possible that these plans could negatively affect the premiums paid by those on the health exchanges, since these plans will be in a separate risk pool. Either way, it spells more trouble and inconvenience for all involved.