Faced with a growing public backlash to the 2010 healthcare law's insurance reforms, the
Insurers have been sending cancellation notices to millions of customers because most of the policies they've been selling to individuals — that is, those people not covered by large group plans at work — don't meet the new standards for affordability and coverage. The goal of the standards is a good one: to stop insurers from excluding or segregating people with preexisting conditions and potentially costly medical needs into more expensive risk pools. But many have struggled to find replacement coverage because of the nightmarish technical problems at HealthCare.gov, the website serving the 36 state exchanges operated by the federal government. And others have complained that a new policy would cost far more than their old one.
The administration responded Thursday with a letter to state insurance commissioners, advising them that any policy for individuals or small businesses could be renewed for next year regardless of whether it met the standards that go into effect Jan. 1. Insurers could not sign up new customers for noncompliant policies, however, and would have to tell renewing customers about their policy's shortcomings.