Margaret Talev and Alex Wayne
Bloomberg
December 20, 2013

20131020_140624Americans whose health plans are being canceled because their coverage doesn’t meet Obamacare rules will be exempt from the mandate that they carry insurance, under a change announced by the Obama administration.

Officials estimated the change will affect fewer than 500,000 people as a Dec. 23 deadline looms to purchase health policies to be eligible for coverage beginning Jan. 1. People losing coverage also will be eligible to buy high-deductible “catastrophic” insurance the law usually limits to those younger than age 30.

Insurers warned that the new exemptions, which would last a year and potentially longer for consumers granted hardship exceptions, risk destabilizing the new marketplaces if younger, healthier people who now carry cheap policies opt out of buying replacement coverage.

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