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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Obama: You Can Keep Your Health Plan . . . For a Year

Proposed change comes amid intense bipartisan pressure for a health-law fix

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"That's on me. We fumbled the roll-out on this health-care law," Obama said Thursday, adding that he's confident that next year people will look back and find that the new law is working well.

In addition to fixing the HealthCare.gov website, Obama said his administration would be taking steps to make the process of purchasing health insurance simpler by streamlining the application process, giving people more assistance and communicating people's health-plan options in a clear way.

In response to Obama's remarks, America's Health Insurance Plans, an insurance trade association, issued a statement saying that consumers may still face higher premiums.

"Changing the rules after health plans have already met the requirements of the [health-reform] law could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers," AHIP president and CEO Karen Ignagni said in a news release. "Premiums have already been set for next year based on an assumption of when consumers will be transitioning to the new marketplace.

"If now fewer younger and healthier people choose to purchase coverage in the exchange, premiums will increase and there will be fewer choices for consumers," she added. "Additional steps must be taken to stabilize the marketplace and mitigate the adverse impact on consumers."

Ignagni said that the "only reason consumers are getting notices about their current coverage changing is because the ACA [Affordable Care Act] requires all policies to cover a broad range of benefits that go beyond what many people choose to purchase today."

Obama's proposal Thursday followed the White House's release late Wednesday of a report revealing a disappointing number of health plan enrollments through the new federal and state online insurance exchanges.

Just over 106,000 Americans enrolled in health plans through the new marketplaces from Oct. 1 through Nov. 2, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said during a news conference.

That figure includes people who have not yet paid their health-plan premium and, of those, only 26,794 enrolled through the troubled federal health marketplace HealthCare.gov.

Another 975,000 people have applied for coverage and received a determination of eligibility for coverage "and are currently still shopping for a plan," Sebelius said.

In addition, more than 396,000 people have been deemed eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program, the report indicated.

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