WASHINGTON, D.C. - 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. The uproar 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 will help many, the President said at the White House. "We are going to do everything we can to help Americans who've received these cancellation notices."
But the fix, as reported earlier by CNN's Dana Bash, puts the onus of the renewals on insurers. The administration is not requiring insurers or state insurance commissioners to extend the existing plans, but instead is allowing insurers to 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.
The launch of the Affordable Care Act has so far been marred by major technological problems with both the federal and state enrollment websites.
Obama admitted the problems in his comments. "We fumbled the roll out on this health care law," he said.
The administration reported Wednesday that fewer than 27,000 Americans selected an insurance plan through the federal healthcare.gov site, which is handling enrollment for 36 states. And the site is still far from fully operational, leaving tech experts racing to get it working by month's end, as the administration promised.