White House offers option for those who lost health coverage - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

White House offers option for those who lost health coverage

Posted:

By Kevin Liptak

CNN White House Producer

(CNN) -- The Obama administration will allow Americans who had their health insurance policies canceled due to the introduction of the Affordable Care Act an option to get new coverage or an exemption from the mandate that they buy insurance.

The change is aimed at preventing people who are losing their plans to at least get catastrophic coverage, if they want it and can afford it, so they don't fall through the health care cracks at the start of the year.

For those who can't afford it, the administration is holding out the possibility of a so-called hardship exemption from the requirement under Obamacare that Americans have insurance or pay a penalty.

"This is a commonsense clarification of the law. For the limited number of consumers whose plans have been canceled and are seeking coverage, this is one more option," Health and Human Services spokesperson Joanne Peters told CNN.

Some Americans who held individual policies from private insurers began receiving cancellation notices this fall due to the fact that their coverage did not meet stepped up requirements of Obamacare.

The issue became a political hot potato for President Barack Obama, who repeatedly assured Americans when promoting his new health reforms that they could keep their old policies if they liked them better.

The controversy exacerbated the rocky October 1 roll out of the federal website, HealthCare.gov, where consumers can shop for and purchase insurance. Initial enrollment totals fell way short of projections. Although they have risen since, the site is not problem-free. It was down again on Friday.

The administration has tweaked its rules regarding the timeframe for consumers to purchase insurance. The deadline is Monday for coverage by January 1, and March 23 for coverage by the end of the year.

There are fewer than 500,000 people whose health insurance plans were canceled and haven't yet signed up for new ones, administration officials said.

The latest change was supported by key moderates in the Senate -- mostly Democrats, some of whom face tough reelection campaigns next year.

"As a result, this clarifies an option that will help those consumers who have had their plans canceled transition more smoothly into the marketplace. We will closely monitor how the administration implements this option, and we remain committed to proposing responsible solutions," they said in a statement.

Republicans, who did not support the Affordable Care Act when it went through Congress in 2010, have sought to derail it since. They have made its most recent troubles the centerpiece of their campaigns against Democrats in midterm elections.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, called the new option a "fire sale of cheap insurance" that was an irresponsible approach for fixing a "broken program."

Insurance companies also reacted negatively.

"This latest rule change could cause significant instability in the marketplace and lead to further confusion and disruption for consumers," said America's Health Insurance Plans' president and CEO Karen Ignagni.

The organization is a trade group for the insurance industry.

Administration officials said they expect an enrollment surge ahead of Monday's sign-up deadline.

And while officials say enrollment appears "robust and strong" in December, they anticipate a drop-off in January, when a looming deadline isn't spurring people to sign up.

The next spike, they say, will come in March, which is the last month Americans can enroll in insurance before being assessed a penalty.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

  • Padre Island National Seashore, South Beach Temporarily Closed to Vehicle Traffic

    Padre Island National Seashore, South Beach Temporarily Closed to Vehicle Traffic

    The Padre Island National Seashore will be closing off the area known as South Beach to vehicle traffic beginning at 6:00 PM Tuesday.Early Tuesday the National Weather Service issued a Coastal Flood Advisory for Nueces and Kleberg counties from 10:00 PM Tuesday until Wednesday at 12 Noon. Representatives with the Padre Island National Seashore say they are closing off South Beach to traffic during the advisory.Park officials say vehicles will be allowed back on the beach as soon as conditions...More >>
    The Padre Island National Seashore will be closing off the area known as South Beach to vehicle traffic beginning at 6:00 PM Tuesday.Early Tuesday the National Weather Service issued a Coastal Flood Advisory for Nueces and Kleberg counties from 10:00 PM Tuesday until Wednesday at 12 Noon. Representatives with the Padre Island National Seashore say they are closing off South Beach to traffic during the advisory.Park officials say vehicles will be allowed back on the beach as soon as conditions...More >>
  • Hours After Arrest Warrant Is Issued, Suspect is Caught

    Hours After Arrest Warrant Is Issued, Suspect is Caught

    Daniel Martinez, 32, has been arrested on Theft and Burglary charges on Tuesday. It was back on August 21 when Corpus Christi police raided a home along the 1700 block of Nile Dr.Early Tuesday morning, police got arrest warrants for Martinez stemming from a raid of a home along the 1700 block of Nile. Hours later, Martinez was pulled over along the 6400 block of Vincent Drive. Police officers recognized Martinez as a wanted person and arrested him. The truck he was driving was taken to the Co...More >>
    Daniel Martinez, 32, has been arrested on Theft and Burglary charges on Tuesday. It was back on August 21 when Corpus Christi police raided a home along the 1700 block of Nile Dr.Early Tuesday morning, police got arrest warrants for Martinez stemming from a raid of a home along the 1700 block of Nile. Hours later, Martinez was pulled over along the 6400 block of Vincent Drive. Police officers recognized Martinez as a wanted person and arrested him. The truck he was driving was taken to the Co...More >>
  • Terror Group Posts "A Second Message to America"

    Terror Group Posts "A Second Message to America"

    (CNN) -- The ISIS terror group has published a video titled "A second message to America," showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff.The video also threatens the life of British captive, David Haines.Sotloff speaks to the camera before he is killed, saying he is "paying the price" for U.S. intervention.The masked ISIS figure in the video speaks to U.S. President Barack Obama, telling him, "Just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike...More >>
    (CNN) -- The ISIS terror group has published a video titled "A second message to America," showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff.The video also threatens the life of British captive, David Haines.Sotloff speaks to the camera before he is killed, saying he is "paying the price" for U.S. intervention.The masked ISIS figure in the video speaks to U.S. President Barack Obama, telling him, "Just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike...More >>