Margaret Talev and Alex Wayne
December 20, 2013
Americans 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.