The Obama administration is allowing people to keep their health care plans that don’t comply with the standards of the Affordable Care Act for another two years, putting off a political hurdle for Democrats until after the midterm elections.
Facing growing opposition from his own party, President Obama announced a transition plan last fall that allowed Americans who were losing their coverage because it didn’t comply with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act to keep their plans for up to a year before being forced into coverage that meets the new standards.
Today, the administration said it would extend that transition plan for two years to policies issued up to October 1, 2016, allowing consumers to renew their 2013 plans for two more years.
“We’re extending this to give people more opportunity to make a judgment about the kind of coverage that works best for them and their families,” a senior administration official told reporters on a conference call.
While the new extension helps to prevent an outcry over cancellations prior to the midterms, the administration maintained the decision was not political.
The extension won’t necessarily apply to everyone who buys his or her own health insurance. After Obama allowed states to allow insurers to keep issuing the same plans, about half of the states took his advice. California, for instance, chose not to allow citizens to keep their plans, amid worries that an extension would undermine the rollout of health exchanges in the state, the L.A. Times reported. States that did not take Obama up on the initial offer will still be able to opt into the extended version.
Administration officials cited estimates that about 500,000 Americans whose plans were canceled have still not purchased coverage.