Click here to see this article in our upcoming redesigned website

Obama Under Fire About Keeping Current Plans

The White House defended President Obama's repeated claim Americans can keep their current health insurance plans under Obamacare if they like them.

The backpedal defense followed an NBC News report more than 7 million Americans with health insurance plans that don't meet minimum standards under the new law would have to upgrade to the new, more expensive plans that meet the standards next year, which the network said meant those people would lose their current healthcare coverage.

The report alleged the Obama administration knew about this, despite Obama's continued assertions nothing in the Affordable Care Act required people to change what they had.

The network said the law's regulations in 2010 estimated 40 percent to 67 percent of customers would have to give up their existing policies because of the new minimum standards as well as normal insurance turnover.

Policies existing before 2010 are protected from this rule by a grandfather clause, but the clause applies only if the healthcare plan hasn't changed significantly since 2010, such as in the plan's deductible, co-pay or benefits.

"It's true that there are existing healthcare plans on the individual market that don't meet those minimum standards and therefore do not qualify for the Affordable Care Act," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

"There are some that can be grandfathered if people want to keep insurance that's substandard," he said.

"But what is also true is that Americans who have insurance on the existing individual market will now have numerous options available to them, and six out of 10 will pay less than $100 per month in premiums for better insurance," Carney said. "It's not even an apples-and-apples comparison."

Obama supported the health law Monday, citing a new report showing nearly half of uninsured single, young adults in the United States, or about 1.3 million people, could sign up for health insurance for $50 or less a month after tax credits.

Some 1.9 million could pay $100 or less a month, while 1 million more could qualify for Medicaid, the Department of Health and Human Services report said.

"Less than your cellphone bill, less than your cable bill," Obama told Fusion, a new cable channel from ABC News and Univision.

Are you offering the right health coverage to your senior clients?

The questions about the plans' cost and coverage came as the first of two House hearings on Capitol Hill was to begin on the troubled start of the federal exchange plan enrollment website.

Medicare and Medicaid Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, who has overseen the health law's rollout, is to testify before the House Way and Means Committee starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

She is to be followed by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who is to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

As recently as late September, Tavenner predicted the Affordable Care Act website would have a smooth Oct. 1 start.

But the federal website -- for residents of the 36 states that chose not to create their own state healthcare exchanges -- has been marred by serious technological problems from its debut, making it difficult for individuals and small businesses to sign up for health insurance.

The Obama administration has promised the site will be fixed by the end of November.

"We will focus on oversight of why the testing did not occur, why the administration told this committee repeatedly that they were on track when they were not, the uncertainty this is causing for Americans trying to sign up, wondering if their doctor will still take their coverage, seeing cancellations of their current healthcare plan," a Ways and Means Committee spokeswoman told The Washington Post.

Copyright: Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Source: United Press International
Wordcount: 602


  More Top News

More Top News >>
  Most Popular Top News

More Popular Top News >>
Hot Off the Wires  Hot off the Wires

More Hot News >>

insider icon Denotes premium content. Learn more about becoming an Insider here.
Are you offering the right health coverage to your senior clients?