Obama Moving To Delay Cancellations Of Insurance Plans
President Obama announced Thursday that Americans who have had their health insurance plans canceled because of his Affordable Care Act can keep those plans for another year if they wish.
Those cancellations — most effective on Jan. 1 — have sparked intense criticism of the ACA, in part because the president pledged many times that if Americans liked the health plans they had, they wouldn't have to give them up under the terms of his program.
We'll update this post. The president's remarks will be carried on many NPR stations.
Update at 12:15 p.m. ET. "We fumbled."
"We fumbled the rollout on this health care law," Obama says.
As for his falling approval rating, the president says that "we just came out of a shutdown ... and the next thing [Americans] know is that the president's health care reform can't get the website to work. ... I understand why people are frustrated."
Update at 12:12 p.m. ET. Extending Plans:
He's announcing, Obama says, that "insurers can extend plans that otherwise would be canceled" because they don't meet the new law's basic requirements. Those extensions would go through 2014. The administration is also asking, he says, that those insurers tell policyholders "what protections those new plans don't include" and that the new health insurance exchanges may offer "new options with better coverage and tax credits."
Update at 12:08 p.m. ET. "Problem No. 1":
The president concedes that "problem No. 1" is making sure the HealthCare.gov website "works like it's supposed to."
Update at 12:03 p.m. ET. The President Begins:
Obama is at the microphone. He says he will be taking a few questions at the end of his remarks. First, though, he offers his condolences to the people of the Philippines, where Typhoon Haiyan hit one week ago. He urges Americans to go to WhiteHouse.gov/typhoon to find organization that are assisting people in the Philippines.
Update at 11:50 a.m. ET. Running Late:
As we cautioned, these events often start late. The president hasn't yet come to the microphone at the White House briefing room.
Update at 11:15 a.m. ET. Back On For 11:35 A.M.:
The White House tells NPR that an official's earlier comment that the president would start speaking at 11:45 a.m. ET was a slip. The announcement is still set for 11:35 a.m. ET., the White House says.
That said, the president is often several minutes late at such events. So stay tuned.
Update at 11 a.m. ET. Will Allow Insurers To Renew Current Policies:
NPR is now reporting that sources with knowledge of the announcement say the president "is set to allow insurance companies to renew current private health care policies for one year even if they do not comply with the minimum coverages required by the Affordable Care Act."
In other words, insurers who have notified some policyholders that their plans have been canceled will be told they can contact those policyholders to offer them the old coverage again.
Update at 10:45 a.m. ET. Time Change:
Earlier the White House said Obama would speak at 11:35 a.m. ET. Now, officials say, he's expected to start at 11:45 a.m. ET.
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.