Under fire, Obama announces vital changes to ACA

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Hoping to undo some of the recent damage to the Affordable Care Act’s reputation, President Barack Obama bowed to pressure Thursday and announced he will allow 2014 sales of previously-canceled individual health plans that don’t meet ACA standards.

The change will offer a temporary “fix” to the millions of consumers whose policies have been canceled or altered as a result of healthcare reform.

That means carriers offering policies deemed not “ACA compliant”—and the producers who sell them—can continue to offer the same coverage to insureds through the coming year.

Insurers will be required to notify clients that “alternatives exist” under the ACA, including the availability of tax credits, and to point out the areas where their plans fall short of government requirements.

The option will only be granted to those who have lost their insurance coverage, officials stressed. Carriers and producers cannot offer such plans to other Americans as it would threaten the ACA's financial viability.

Obama's announcement comes after a tidal wave of negative response to the cancellation notices sent to millions of Americans with individual health plans. Previously, the president promised that those who liked their health insurance plans could keep them.

The move is expected to usurp several fledgling bills from both Democrats and Republicans that would let policyholders keep such “substandard” coverage for the time being, allowing the White House to regain the upper hand in the botched rollout of the president’s signature healthcare law.


  • Marsha Trasp on 11/14/2013 10:30:22 AM

    The whole thing needs to be repealled!
    Not just a temporay bandaid.
    Miss M.

  • CH on 11/14/2013 10:34:07 AM

    Does that mean that those who continue to have "substandard" medical plans will incur a penalty since the individual mandate is not going away for 2014?

  • Gert V on 11/14/2013 10:37:12 AM

    Wow! Obama actually caved on something that he ramrodded through.. This whole act needs to be repealed and simplified, without all the opt outs for those who contribute or work for our exhaulted leader. Kudos to you Mr. President for finally opening your glued shut eyes and seeing what this act is really doing to the men and women of our country.

  • Terry Welty on 11/14/2013 10:39:11 AM

    I wasn't aware that the Presidential Powers included the ability to "cafeteria" what parts of laws are to be followed and what can be ignored. It's like the Pilot of an airline handing out parachutes and kicking everyone off the plane because the engine trouble. After everyone is falling to the ground, he changes his mind and yells for everyone to come back... if the individual states insurance commissioners have to rule on this and the companies have to react and reverse their course immediately... how is that going to happen in time to reinstate the policies? It's too late to fix this train wreck!

  • John Jenks on 11/14/2013 10:50:38 AM

    So what does this mean for sole proprietors, direct-billed association members and other historically-considered "groups" who have lost the group designation due to the ACA? Do they have to transition to Individual policies or not?

  • LibertyChick on 11/14/2013 10:54:17 AM

    Let's provide the free market approach to allowing for Major Medical Insurance, and doctors and patients to choose which insurance model they want to operate under. This has all become a monopoly.

  • Tom Wilkins on 11/14/2013 11:12:23 AM

    Obama answer is by "DIRECTING" (mandating/requiring) private businesses, ie, insurance companies, to re-issue previously canceled insurance policies for another year.
    Who is he to direct/mandate/require any of us private businessowners to do anything?
    Why would any insurance company ignore all the problems and extra expense Obama's created, only to spend additional multiple millions of dollars to make him look good?
    And then, the carriers get to do this all over again next year? Let Obama "go down with the ship!" He caused it to sink!

  • Terry Welty on 11/14/2013 11:21:47 AM

    He is just shifting the blame for this mess on the insurance companies... Do you think Blue Cross Blue Shield has the ability to calculate the rejuvenated policy rates, generate the letters and process the information in a timely fashion... with the screwed up mess they are already dealing with??? We have to remember the "Bad Apple" companies sold them these terrible policies... I don't sell terrible policies to my clients and I don't sell maternity coverage to women over 60, but I guess that makes me a "Bad Apple" too.

  • Fingers Crossed for the Future on 11/14/2013 11:22:16 AM

    Well, I'm pretty certain that this was just a positioning tactic by Mr. Obama to save face because there is no way that insurance carriers are going to be able to get state interpretations on this and then relay that to carriers who would probably not be willing to invest the money to undo what they have already paid to shut down. I know insurance carriers locally have already laid off staff in anticipation of these changes, so there is NO WAY they are going to rehire them just because Mr. Obama is experiencing bad press. What a joke!

  • Tired of tyranny on 11/14/2013 11:25:24 AM

    The president, regardless of party, does not have power to unilaterally choose which laws, or parts of laws, are to be enforced and which to waive, ignore or delay. He is acting as a dictator and we are allowing it. The media is encouraging it. We need people to stand up and demand what is right. Either the entire law is enacted as written or the entire law is repealed but he cannot have it his way. This is in direct violation of the Constitution of the United States of America. I demand we hold him responsible to uphold the Constitution and the law as he has sworn to do.

  • Sandee Mogle on 11/14/2013 12:02:41 PM

    I think this is going right where Obama wants it to. The insurance companies have already geared up, moved fwd to get on with business as was prescribed under the new ACA. Now all of a sudden Obama is saying - go back paddle back up stream, un-do all that was required of you - they can't! And then he can say "Well, let me make this perfectly clear - I am doing all that is possible for the American people and YOU - evil insurance companies- can't help!'

  • Gene Lawhon on 11/14/2013 12:08:18 PM

    Does the president have the constitutional power to change a law that was passed by Congress without the approval of Congress? I don't think so.

  • Gert V on 11/14/2013 12:23:04 PM

    ronald Reagan warned us long ago that this was the way the liberal left would socialize this country. The ACA has nothing to do with insurance but all to do with gaining power and control over us. Keep dumbing down the education in this country and they'll have their way with all of us... If it's "free" it's for me they all say....

  • Barbara Brian on 11/14/2013 12:37:30 PM

    The president is as inept as his health care plan.

  • Alison Eckis, Benefits Consultant on 11/14/2013 1:16:36 PM

    It's about time Obama conceded he/ his government is at fault and offer a viable solution to those people who would lose coverage 12/31/2013. Hopefully more concessions/ACA revisions will come so we can offer people reasonable coverage options for 2014!

  • Sad Times on 11/14/2013 1:19:20 PM

    What if a Republican had been in charge of this? They would be hanging out to dry & the ACA would be repealed. The media would be calling that the law is the law & that the President doesn't have the authority to pick & chose. But no they go right along trying to make Obama look good & want to put the blame on the big mean insurance companies, when they have worked for over 3 yrs getting ready for the ACA & have their systems working. Just because the Obama Administration messed this whole thing up, it cannot be reversed for another year, just because he is in a tight squeeze now. The Truth Is - as Obama calls it - our Administration is sinking the American people as fast as they can.

  • thunder 69er on 11/14/2013 1:34:07 PM

    Where does Obama get the authority to change this or any law willy-nilly? He is the president not king. Why is Congress letting him get away with this? This stupid law needs to be repealed.

  • burnettins on 11/14/2013 7:02:16 PM

    did anyone say " tar and feather"? or impeach?

  • Mona on 11/15/2013 8:08:15 AM

    This Fix is not a fix. I am an Obama supporter but totally disagree with ACA as it is written. I work for a carrier and it tooks tons of time, resources and money to re-map plans to be ACA compliant and now he says let's delay a year! he has no clue how health insurance works and neither does his advisors. In order for carriers to extend (renew) those plans, they have to come up with the rates and then file the rates with the state for approval. carriers can't just sell rates. They have to get the state's blessing. What he should have done was consulted carriers who are doing the right things and agents for input. Now this is just a huge mess and an attempt to make carriers look like the bad guys if they don't continue these plans that they were told to get rid of

  • Terry Welty on 11/15/2013 9:27:23 AM

    Apparently he is not changing the law, just the enforcement of the law... what a joke! The Department of Insurance in my state is about as proactive and fast as a turtle... I'm sure this can all be done in 30 days... no problem!! The companies can dump another gazillion dollars down this wagon train ride to hell...

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