- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Trump administration on Thursday extended an Obama-era policy that allowed millions of Americans to keep health coverage that did not meet Obamacare’s standards.

Health officials said people with “grandmothered” plans can hold onto them through the end of 2018, so long as their states and insurance companies allow it.

Previously, consumers were supposed to upgrade to more comprehensive coverage after this year.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced the change in a bulletin on Thursday. Mr. Trump has directed agencies to ease the 2010 law’s burdens on individuals while Republicans craft a legislative replacement.

The transitional policy stretches back to fall of 2013, when President Obama faced a backlash from several million Americans whose skimpy plans were canceled because they didn’t meet the Affordable Care Act’s new coverage requirements.

They said the notices directly contradicted Mr. Obama’s promise that Americans who liked their plans could keep them under his signature law.

The uproar threatened to upend the rollout of Mr. Obama’s signature law, particularly after its web-based insurance exchanges crashed in October 2013, or three months before Obamacare’s main coverage provisions took effect.

Under duress, Mr. Obama said state insurance commissioners and insurers could let consumers keep their plans for a few more years.

Some health plans, including nonprofit coops that struggled for market share and collapsed, said the policy contributed to a sicker-than-expected customer base on Obamacare exchanges, since healthy would-be customers remained in their old plans.

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