President Offers Aministrative Way to Address Cancelled Policies

On Thursday, November 14th- the President announced that insurers can offer consumers the option to renew their 2013 health plans in 2014, without change, allowing them to keep their plans. To access this option, insurers must notify enrollees that they can purchase coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace where they can potentially qualify for premium tax credits. And, they must tell consumers what protections they are giving up to keep the plan they have. This option will not allow older plans to be sold to new customers in 2014, which would undermine the Marketplace and drive up premiums for millions of hard-working Americans. In short, this administrative fix will give consumers more information and choices, including keeping their old plans.


As the Presdient said, this fix won't solve every problem for every person, but it will help a lot of people. Doing more will require cooperation from Congree. He has said from the very beginning that he is willing to work with Demoncrats and Republicans to fix problems as they arise, this fix being an example of what he was talking about. But, let's not pretend that the old individual market is a place worth going back to. Year after year, Americans were routinely exposed to financial ruin, denied coverage due to minor pre-existing conditions, or dropped from coverage altogether- even if they paid their premiums on time. That's why the President won't accept proposals that are just another brazen attempt to repeal this law and drag us back to that broken system.

Further Background:


  • Today, the majority of Americans have employer-based health insurance that is already providing quality healthy coverage.
  • The Affordable Care Act stengthens employer coverage while creating new protections for people in the individual market- preventing them from being charged more because of a pre-existing condition or getting fewer benefits like mental health services or prescription drugs.
  • The new Health Insurance Marektplace will help millions of hard-working Americans find affordable health insurance. Premiums are, on average, 16% below what was originally projected. Nearly 1/4 of insurers offering health plans through the Marketplace are selling to individuals for the first time. And, a recent study found that an estimated 17 million Americans can get premium discounts through the Marketplace. 
  • Except for "grandfathered plans," health insurers in the individual and small group markets have to adopt new consumer protections. In some instances, they are doing so by cancelling current policies and replacing them with new and sometimes more costly plans.
  • Today, under the President's direction, HHS announced that it will allow insurers to offer renewals of their current policies without adopting the 2014 market rule changes. This gives current enrollees the choice to stay in their plan next year. HHS will consider the impact of this transitional policy in assessing whether to extend it beyond 2014.
  • To ensure consumers are informed about their options, insurers who are offering renewal of 2013 plans must let consumers know what protections the renewed plan is NOT including and how they can learn about new plans with better protections and possibly tax credits.
  • To protect against premium impacts of this change, HHS intends to adjust the temporary risk cooridor program which is designed to stabilize premiums as changes are implemented.
  • Whether an individual can keep their current plan also depends on their insurance company and State insurance commissioner- but it will no longer be implementation of the law that is forcing them to buy a new plans.
  • With 50 to 67 percent of enrollees staying in their individual market plan for a year or less, the number of people in these bare-bones policies will decrease over time. Today's action provides a smoother transition for some while allowing others to go to the Marketplace now to gain the new protections, often at a lower price- keeping the Marketplace strong.
  • This President is focused on fixing the law and making it work. And he is willing to work with anyone in Congress willing to do the same.


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