The Obama administration will allow health insurers to continuing offering plans that fail to meet the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) minimum requirements for another two years.
The extension, widely viewed as a political move to assist Democrats in the upcoming mid-term elections, applies to policies issued up to October 1, 2016.
Significantly, the change likely will not affect the estimated 900,000 Californians whose plans were cancelled under the ACA. That’s because Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones declined to accept the President’s invitation last fall to allow insurers to continuing offering non-compliant policies through 2014.
The issue arose after it became apparent that approximately 4.7 million Americans would lose their insurance plans because they fell short of the ACA’s coverage mandates. This created a public relations nightmare for President Obama, who had repeatedly promised that consumers could keep their exiting policies.
To stanch the damage, the administration allowed insurance companies to extend cancelled policies for one year, provided insurance commissioners and state regulators were on board.
In addition to California, states refusing to implement the president’s “fix” include New York, Massachusetts, Arizona, Colorado, Virginia, West Virginia, Oregon and Minnesota, as well as Washington, D.C.