In a move some say is motivated by politics, the Obama administration has announced that insurers can now wait until 2016 before canceling plans that don’t comply with Obamacare.
The Obama White House released a trove of regulations aimed at easing reporting requirements for businesses. The new regulations will also allow insurers to keep selling individual policies that don’t meet the law’s requirements. This latest Obamacare change is a complete about-face from an earlier version of Obamacare which had uncanceled those policies last November, and will now allow them to last as late as 2017.
Additionally, those new cancellation notices won’t reach Americans until October 2016, and the plans that offer early renewals could be extended well into 2017.
If you’re keeping score, those dates and the hassle and the pain these new policy chances will likely inflict are conveniently placed after the 2016 election cycle.
And then there’s this from National Journal:
Administration offiials denied any political motivation for the latest delay, though press materials about the changes specifically name-checked Democratic senators who are up for reelection this year and have pushed for Obamacare changes—including Mary Landrieu, Jeanne Shaheen, Mark Udall, and Mark Warner.
Senior administration officials estimate that about 1.5 million people are currently covered by plans that would have otherwise been canceled. That number will likely shrink even more by the time the latest extension ends, as people get employer-based insurance, become eligible for Medicare, or simply choose to buy a different policy, potentially with help from Obamacare’s new tax subsidies. So officials don’t expect to see a big, politically damaging wave of cancellation notices in 2016.
Obamacare, according to the Congressional Research Service, has already been changed, amended or, delayed 19 times. Wednesday’s delay marks the health law’s 29th (or so) change.
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