On Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services released a set of "additional steps" designed to "help" Americans get health insurance before the start of the new year. Philip Klein discusses those guidelines over at the Washington Examiner, reporting that HHS is "encouraging" health insurers to accept late and partial payments for insurance plans for the month of January.
"It is requiring insurers to accept payments until Dec. 31 for coverage starting on Jan. 1," Klein writes. "It is also 'urging' insurers to give individuals more time beyond that to pay for coverage. In other words, if somebody pays for coverage in the middle of January, HHS is asking insurers to retroactively make that person's coverage effective as of Jan. 1. HHS is also asking insurers to cover individuals who offer a 'down payment,' even if that payment only covers part of the first month's premiums."
Klein notes that it looks like the Obama administration is anticipating more Americans losing their current coverage or unable to get coverage under Obamacare:
On a conference call, an HHS spokeswoman emphasized: “We are just proposing it as an option and we’re encouraging issuers. There is no requirement.”
Translation: HHS has a huge mess on its hands and it hopes that by getting ahead of this news, it can foist the blame for the problems on insurers.
Of course, for insurers who have spent years designing plans to comply with the law, this would present huge and unreasonable logistical hurdles.
The Tampa Bay Times's Politifact, meanwhile, has named Obama's promise that "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it" under Obamacare its "Lie of the Year" for 2013--four years after the president first began making that promise.