Could There Be More Obamacare Changes In 2014?

You can keep it

It is only a rumor, at this point, however, it appears that the Obama Administration may grant yet another exemption for political reasons.

The exception that is rumored to be considered in the White House, would allow Americans to continue to keep their current, non-approved, health insurance plans for an additional 3 years.

Unfortunately, when Mr. Obama granted the original exception last November, 22 states decided not to allow people to keep older plans.  People who live in those states will not be able to participate.

Neither will people in the other 28 states who have already changed to one of the Obamacare approved plans.

Fortunately, Texas was one of the states who have elected not to either support, or hinder, the Obamacare roll-out.  Most of my clients live in Texas.  Those who already have health insurance, that they kept from 2013, MAY be able to renew that coverage when it expires, assuming that the plan that is being considered by the White House is enacted.

It is important for people to remember that this proposed change would not eliminate the mandate for all Americans to buy health insurance or the federal “subsidy” program for the poor.  It would only benefit those Americans who have already taken steps to secure the type of health insurance they feel they need.

During the Health Care Reform debates, President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that if congress were to pass the PAC the law would guarantee that Americans who already had health insurance would be able to keep it.

The PPACA, that congress passed, kept that promise for those Americans who had health insurance as of the date that the bill was signed by the president.

That, however, was almost 4 years ago.  During that time, the circumstances of  life have caused many Americans to make adjustments to their existing policies.  Although the “grandfathered” clauses that are in the PPACA sounded good in 2010, they are a political liability for President Obama in 2014.

Rumor has it that those in power in the White House may choose not to enforce part of the law, as written by congress.  In late 2013, President Obama said that the IRS would not enforce the part of the law that required all Americans to have an “Essential Benefit Policy” by the end of March, 2014.

If Obama elects not to enforce this provision of the law, there are a few things to remember.

  1. In order to do this Obama would have to ignore specific instructions from congress.  If he granted this extension, he would have to find a way to do it through Executive Privilege or be accused of circumventing the will of congress.
  2. This would not eliminate the mandate for all Americans to have health insurance.  It just eliminates the need to buy “Essential Benefit Plans.”  People who are currently uninsured, would still be required to buy health insurance.
  3. The extension being considered does not repeal anything.  It only postpones enforcement of the law until the next president’s first year.  It would be up to that congress and presidential administration to either repeal & replace Obamacare or continue with the law.
  4. The proposed extension is in anticipation of even higher health insurance premiums for 2015.  The blocks of existing health insurance plans were medically underwritten.  Insurance companies could charge people a fair premium based on their health.  The new Obamacare laws do not allow medical underwriting.  The premiums that are expected for 2015 will more accurately reflect the medical costs for people who have neglected their health and refrained from buying health insurance in the past.
  5. The proposed extension only applies, at this time, to policies in the Individual market. Small group health insurance plans will still need to conform to the Obamacare Essential Health Benefits.
  6. THIS IS ONLY A RUMOR, at this time.  Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna, told investors last week, that IF it were to happen, it has to be done before the health insurance companies compute the rates for their Obamacare approved plans for 2015.  Those rates are due to be given to HHS by May 31.

In light of this potential change to Obamacare, I encourage those Texans, who will not qualify for federal “subsidies” to wait until the end of March to change to one of the Obamacare approved plans.

However, those Texans who have no health insurance, of any sort need to get something before April 1.  Those Texans who qualify for the federal “subsidy” program should look at their options by March 31.

If you are one of the millions of Texans who need to look at options, click on the banner below to visit my website.  You can shop directly from health insurance companies on the left side of the page and there is a link to WWW.HEALTHCARE.GOV on the right side of the page.