Americans may be able to keep their individual insurance plans for one more year, under a fix offered by President Obama on Thursday to address a controversial provision of the Affordable Care Act.
The deal is meant to mollify millions of people enraged after their insurers canceled policies that do not meet Obamacare requirements, CNN's Jim Acosta reports.
But how many it will ultimately help remains to be seen.
Political commentators Will Cain and Marc Lamont Hill weigh in on what's next for President Obama. Cain says there's a question about the legality of the fix in the first place. Hill says part of this fix is entirely possible
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The uproar over the cancellations has ensnared the White House for weeks, shining a spotlight on Obama's previous promise that people who liked their insurance plans can keep them.
"This fix won't solve every problem for every person. But it's going to help a lot of people," the president said at the White House.
But the fix, as reported earlier by CNN's Dana Bash, puts the onus of the renewals outside the president's control: The administration is not requiring insurers or state insurance commissioners to extend the existing plans, but instead is letting them offer an additional year of coverage.
Also, insurers must notify policyholders of the difference in benefits between their policies and the Obamacare plans available on the insurance exchanges. And the companies must inform people that additional policies are available on the exchanges and that subsidies may be available to those who qualify.
More than a million Americans have now received notices that their health coverage is being cancelled and they can't keep their old plans, CNN's Christine Romans reports.
That's because the plans don't meet the minimum standards required under the Affordable Care Act, including a $6,350 limit on annual out-of-pocket costs and coverage of mental health, maternity and medication.
These new requirements are forcing many insurers to either add benefits or terminate the policies. The new offerings usually come at higher rates because they have more comprehensive coverage and must be offered to people with pre-existing conditions. Many insurers have been able to keep rates low because they offered catastrophic plans with high deductibles and minimal benefits, and they could cherry pick among applicants to only pick the healthiest ones.
Customers have been getting letters informing them of the changes to or cancellation of their policies, often along with their insurer's offerings for 2014. While it's not uncommon for insurers to change policies from year-to-year, the sticker shock has caused outrage and alarm among some.
Only a handful of existing plans will be grandfathered in since the qualifying criteria is hard to meet: Members have to have been enrolled in the policy before the ACA passed in March 2010, and the plan has to have maintained fairly steady co-pay, deductible and coverage rates until now.