Four States Given Waivers for Health Care Law

Robert Pear
The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration said Wednesday that it had granted broad waivers to four states allowing health insurance companies to continue offering less generous benefits than they would otherwise be required to provide this year under the new federal health care law.

The states are Florida, New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee, the administration told Congress.

Lawmakers said that many other states, insurers and employers needed similar exemptions from some of the law’s requirements and would seek waivers if they knew of the option.

Steven B. Larsen, a top federal insurance regulator, said the waivers would allow many consumers to keep the coverage they had, a goal often espoused by President Obama.

Under the law and rules issued by the administration, health plans this year must generally provide at least $750,000 in coverage for essential benefits like hospital care, doctors’ services and prescription drugs. In states granted the waivers, many health plans with much lower annual limits on coverage may continue to operate.

…the administration had granted temporary waivers to the four states and to more than 900 health plans covering 2.4 million people, or fewer than 2 percent of all those with employer-sponsored insurance.

Each of the states had a law, policy or program that required or encouraged health plans to offer limited-benefit coverage, Mr. Larsen said.

At a hearing of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, Republicans repeatedly asked: if the new law is so good, why have so many waivers been granted?…

The entire article is at The New York Times.

Update: Ace of Spades HQ, Breaking: CBO Says Repealing ObamaCare Would SAVE 1.4 TRILLION DOLLARS Over 10 Years

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