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President: You can keep existing plans — maybe

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In response to the growing furor over people losing their insurance policies because of Obamacare, the president announced what White House officials called an administrative fix.

The fix would allow people who currently have coverage to keep their plans for one more year — if their state's insurance commissioner allows it and if the insurance company decides to continue offering the plan. It would essentially be an extension of the grandfathering provision, which until now only applied to policies that have been in effect and substantially unchanged since Obamacare was signed into law in 2010.

The fix also requires that insurers who do choose to extend existing plans notify customers of the following:

• What Obamacare-mandated protections the renewed plans do not include.

• That the Obamacare marketplace offers compliant plans for which many people will qualify for subsidies and others will qualify for Medicaid.

Insurers will not be able to sell extended plans to new customers.

Senior White House officials said in a press call preceding the announcement that the policy is temporary but could potentially be extended, depending on circumstances.

The president's announcement comes in the context of gathering support on two competing bills on the subject: Senate Bill 1642 by Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, and House Bill 3350 by Republican Rep. Fred Upton.

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer covers Lancaster County, nonprofits, education and health care. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at heathers@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @StaufferCPBJ.

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