Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

People in cancelled policies can buy bare-bones coverage under last-minute revision to Affordable Care Act

WebMD News from HealthDay

New Rule May Exempt Many From Health Plan Penalty

By Karen Pallarito

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Dec. 20, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Consumers whose individual health insurance policies have been cancelled for failing to meet the minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act may now apply for a "hardship exemption," Obama administration officials announced late Thursday.

That loophole provides a "temporary" exemption from the law's so-called individual mandate requiring most Americans to have health insurance coverage or pay a federal tax penalty.

The exemption also allows people in cancelled health plans to buy bare-bones "catastrophic coverage" if it is available in their area.

The rule change comes just days before a key enrollment deadline. For consumers using the federal and state health insurance exchanges, Dec. 23 is the deadline in most states for enrolling in a health plan that would take effect on Jan. 1.

"Even though the Affordable Care Act will offer more coverage choices and protections for millions of Americans, we are committed to ensuring the smoothest transition possible for those who need to find a new health plan," U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote in a letter outlining options for people in cancelled health plans.

Consumers with cancelled policies may call 1-866-837-0677, a dedicated hotline to help people sort through their options, Sebelius added.

The health insurance lobby issued a terse statement reacting to the 11th-hour decision.

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

Republicans lashed out at what they called the Obama Administration's continued backpedaling on a law that they insist should be repealed.

"The Administration is recognizing the grim reality that more Americans have lost health insurance than gained it under Obamacare," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said in a statement.

"This is a slap in the face to the thousands of Americans who have already purchased expensive insurance through the Obamacare exchanges," he noted.

In recent weeks, millions of Americans have received notice that their individual health insurance policies would not be renewed in 2014. In some cases, these health plans lacked basic coverage for hospitalization or other critical and costly health services, and did not comply with comprehensive coverage rules under the Affordable Care Act.

Latest Health Reform News

Loading …
URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices