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    White House Extends Private Coverage 2 Years


    In a statement, America’s Health Insurance Plans president and chief executive officer Karen Ignagni said her group was still reviewing the series of changes.

    “There is broad agreement that if more young and healthy individuals choose not to participate in the new marketplaces, it could lead to higher premiums for those consumers that remain in the exchanges,” she said “That is why it is crucial that sufficient steps be taken to stabilize the market…”

    Republicans criticized the decision to allow people to remain longer in plans that do not comply with the health law.

    “Once again, the Obama administration has shown it will do whatever it takes to hide the true impact of ObamaCare from the American people – at least until after the next election,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. “The fact is Americans should be able to keep the insurance – and the doctors and hospitals – of their choosing, as the president promised. Pushing this off for two more years isn’t a solution at all.”

    Robert Laszewski, a consultant and former insurance industry executive, said in a note to his clients that allowing people to keep policies that don’t meet the law’s standards doesn’t bode well for insurers. Those policyholders need to sign up for new coverage – often at higher rates – to offset the costs of enrollees who are older or sicker, he said.

    Brian Haile, senior vice president for health policy at tax service Jackson Hewitt, said adding a month to what was previously planned for the open enrollment period next year is a good idea. “Given that so many Americans are cash-strapped during Christmas,” he said, “the extension … to Feb. 15, 2015 is hugely beneficial to them – and the overall enrollment effort.”

    Julie Appleby contributed to this article.

    Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

    Wed, Mar 5 2014

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