KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Administration Announces 2nd Renewal For Old Health Plans

Americans who kept health plans that didn't comply with the health law's coverage requirements will be able to renew those policies again.

Politico: Canceled Health Plans Get Reprieve
The Obama administration will allow some health plans that fall short of Obamacare coverage requirements to continue past the November elections and through most of President Barack Obama’s second term. The decision, announced Wednesday by federal health officials, extends for two years an earlier decision by the White House to let people keep their existing health plans through 2014, even if those plans fell short of the Affordable Care Act requirements (Cheney, 3/5).

The New York Times: Obama Extends Renewal Period for Noncompliant Insurance Policies 
“This approach incorporates the flexibility that exists under the law,” said a senior administration official. Republicans said they were not surprised by the president’s latest move. Indeed, they said it confirmed their contention that parts of the health care law were unpopular and unworkable. The reprieve for noncompliant policies was the latest in a series of waivers, deadline extensions, delays and dispensations announced by the administration. Lawyers said that Mr. Obama was testing the limits of his powers (Pear, 3/5).

Bloomberg: Obama Said To Allow Two-Year Renewal For Old Health Plans
People who stayed on old plans, which don’t carry the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections, are believed to be younger and healthier in general than people on exchange plans. The insurer Humana Inc. (HUM) said in January that its exchange customers would be sicker and older than it expected in part because Obama allowed renewals of old plans (Wayne, 3/5).

Earlier coverage:

The Wall Street Journal: Extension Expected On Health Policies Not Meeting Law
 Millions of Americans received notices last fall saying their health-insurance policies would be canceled because they didn't meet the Affordable Care Act's stricter coverage standards. In November, President Barack Obama said state insurance commissioners could let health plans reinstate such policies for 12 months since many consumers were unable to use the balky website to obtain replacement coverage (Radnofsky and Mathews, 3/4).

Reuters: White House Readies Health Insurance Renewal Extension - Sources
The Obama administration will allow consumers to extend health insurance plans that fail to comply with President Barack Obama's health care law beyond 2014, according to three people familiar with the matter. In a move that could help Democrats avoid a repeat of last autumn's public outcry over canceled health policies, administration officials are expected to announce the change within the next few days, according to the sources (Morgan, 3/4).

CBS News: Obamacare's "Keep Your Plan" Fix To Be Extended
President Obama took some serious heat last year when insurers started dropping millions of Americans from health plans that were no longer Obamacare-compliant, seemingly breaking his promise, "If you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance." Consequently, he enacted an administrative policy change allowing insurers to extend existing plans on the individual and small-group markets for a year (Condon, 3/4).


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